Welcome to this Mission

Good day in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

May you find God on every page of this website. May you get fuel for the journey and clarity of purpose as you go through the videos, the music, the Word studies or the Newsletters and may it inspire you to do great exploits for the Most High.

This is my prayer for you:

“Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be the glory in the church by Jesus Christ to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20,21

Vision and Mission

Vision:

To Glorify, Worship, Love, Obey and honor the Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) through teaching and living the truth in love.

Mission:

Helping the Body of Christ fulfil the Great Commission by specifically reaching and discipling different ethnic groups of various religious persuasions with the gospel in word and deed.

To view the Statement of faith and the Projects we are involved in go here:

Statement of Faith/Projects

Featured post

The source, way and outcome of the godly and ungodly

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Text Psalm 1

1)“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2)but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
3) He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 4)The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. 5)Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6)for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” (Psalms‬ ‭1:1-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬)‬‬

The source, way and outcome of the godly and wicked

Introduction

This psalm serves as an introduction and summary to the whole book of psalms, all 150 of them, or we can say the five books in the psalms. It sets forth the way of blessing and the way of cursing or damnation. It helps us to understand the two main categories of people in the world, the godly and ungodly or the righteous and the wicked or the saints and the sinners. That is what the whole book of psalms is about. Much of it is wisdom literature and although we find different types of psalms, like psalms of praise, or of complaint or prophecy and so on, the psalms help us in our devotional lives. They give us words to pray when we have no words and it helps us to identify with the saints in ages gone past. They help us see we are not alone in our difficulties and fears and failures.

In this psalm we see the way of blessing set forth. We see where the way of happiness and joy is found, lasting happiness. The constant pursuit of all men is the pursuit of happiness. That is why many greet each other in the beginning of every year with “happy new year.” I like to tell people when they greet me with happy new year, “blessed new year” because the word happy to me has less meaning than blessed. I pray that everyone who listens to this message today will find blessedness in this year and not mere happiness. We think many times when things go our way or when we don’t have many trials or when we have enough money or when we are given gifts and when we experience comfort we have happiness. But to be blessed means something different. To be blessed means you have a happiness that transcends your particular circumstances. Being blessed means that no matter your circumstances and situation in life you have lasting joy.

This psalm and the whole Bible helps us to find the way of lasting happiness, blessedness, and fullness of joy. Psalm 1 directs us to the source of blessedness, the way of blessing and the outcome of blessedness. Early in my Christian walk I have memorized this psalm and I believe by God’s grace He has helped me to internalize this psalm and make it my way of living and as a result I have experienced the benefits of doing what is commanded here and the fulfillment of the promise we find in this psalm. And today I want to encourage you to obey the way of blessing set forth in this psalm if you haven’t done so yet, and if you have I want to encourage you to keep obeying until the day you die!

So let us start and see what is the source of blessing and cursing:

1. The source of the godly and wicked

The source of the godly

 Is the law and word of God

Now when this psalm was written down, by David we presume, he mentioned that the way of blessing is to delight and meditate on the law of God. That is the word mentioned in Psalm 1. The law of God referred to the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. The word for law in the Hebrew is “Torah.” That is the book that the people of God used at the time. More Scripture was written down century by century, but we know that the Torah was there, the Book of Moses, in David’s time. Now the psalmist tells us here that only the Torah was enough to give a life of blessing. He was telling us here that this Torah, the Book of Moses, by delighting in it, and meditating on it, in other words, knowing it, is the source of blessing. There was enough in the Torah to direct and guide the Israelite to a life of blessing.

But this word can definitely and must be applied not only to the Torah or the first five books of the Bible! Because we know today that we have more than five books from God. We have the full revelation and word of God contained in the Old and New Testaments! How much more blessed should we be in the 21st century now that we have God’s revealed word in the Old and New Testaments! It shocks me we when I hear of people who have access to the word of God and the will of God but never reads it. For centuries past in the Middle ages the common people in the world had no access to the word of God. Only priest and monks who could read it in Latin and those who stayed in monasteries could read and study the Bible. But then came the invention of the Printing press in the 15th century and then the first Book that was ever printed was the Bible! But the common people in Europe could still not read it. It was only when giants of the faith like Martin Luther and William Tyndale and then others translated the Scriptures into German and English and other languages that the Bible became accessible to ordinary people like you and me. But there was great persecution because of the availability of the word of God and many, many believers in Christ, were martyred because of the word of God.

And today the word of God and the law of God has never been so accessible and available in so many languages in history. But then when you ask people in Western countries: have you ever read the Bible? They reply: no! This is shocking! The only source of eternal blessing is veiled from their eyes. If I would ask: Have you ever watched a football game they would say: yes! If I would ask: have your ever watched: “The Lord of the Rings?” or “Star Wars?”, they would say: yes. Or have you ever read a newspaper? They would say: off course! But if I ask them: have you ever read the Bible? They say: No! The only source of lasting blessing however is the word of God, the law of God, the Bible!

 Is the God of the Bible (John 4:14; John 7:37) rivers of water

You would ask me: why is it that the Bible or the word of God is the only source of blessing? The Bible is the only source of blessing because whom it reveals! God! It is the Holy Spirit who gave us the Bible. All of Scripture is breathed out by God is is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and instructing us in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). In the Bible we find the character of God revealed. We find the will and purposes of God revealed. We find the way of blessing revealed! We find the way of salvation revealed and we find the nature of man revealed. The Bible is a book of blessing because it reveals to us the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ! It reveals why we need salvation and it reveals how we can receive salvation. There is no other book like it! The sacred Scriptures is able to make us wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 3:15). That is why it is called the word of truth (Ephesians 1:13) and the word of life (Philippians 2:18). By it be are born again, made alive, strengthened, sanctified, purified and edified. By it our faith becomes strong and by the word, saving faith is created (Romans 10:17). The Bible is the source of blessing because it leads us the Rivers of Living Water, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

 The supremacy and excellence of God and his word

The word of God is forever settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89). It cannot be destroyed. By the word every person will be judged one day. There is nothing more precious than the word of God. It is more precious than all the gold put together in the world. It is more valuable than all the jewel and precious stones and possessions and products put together. By the word be are warned of coming judgment. By the word, promises are given of eternal life. By the Word we find direction in life and comfort and medicine for our souls. The word of God is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). It is more relevant than the daily newspaper. No book in the word has sold so many copies. No other book in the world have been translated in so many languages. More books have been written about the Bible than any other book. This book is banned in many countries today and yet it cannot be chained. Because it is God’s Book and because God is the primary author of the 66 books we find in the Bible. It is the most important book in the world and it will remain the most important book for all eternity. And it is the most important book in the world because it is trustworthy and truthful in all it affirms about life, death, righteousness, salvation, the world and humanity in general. It is God’s inerrant, authoritative and eternal word to the human race.

The source of the wicked

 Is the counsel of men

We see in the first verse that the godly does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. But the ungodly follow the counsel of the ungodly. And we find the counsel or the philosophy or thoughts and intentions of the ungodly everywhere. We find the counsel of the wicked in the newspapers and sometimes in church counsels, in liberal theologian publications, in curricula of state education, in textbooks of psychology in bookstores and on the radio and on the Television and many times in news reports. We find their counsel in sophisticated language and in crude language in the streets in Kempton Park. We find the counsel of the ungodly between some family members and sometimes from State Presidents. If any person’s mind is not controlled by the Holy Spirit and the mind of Christ, we find ungodly counsel. Ungodly counsel means by definition where God’s counsel is rejected or ignored. Where homosexual unions or marriages are condoned, where abortion on demand and sexual deviancy and immorality and idolatry and gambling are approved there we find the counsel of the ungodly. The source of the ungodly is the system of the world.

 Is his own sinful inclinations and heart

The human heart is deceitful above all else (Jeremiah 17:9) and it is desperately wicked. Even if you take all the magazines and newspapers and Televisions and Radios and Internet and books and human philosophy away you will still have your own ungodly thoughts to contend with. The mind of the flesh is in direct opposition to the mind of the Spirit. As Genesis 6:5 and 8:21 said: the inclinations of the human heart is only evil continually from its youth. We counsel ourselves in the wrong direction. We are by nature self-centered and preoccupied with our own interests and desires. By birth and by nature we are the ungodly and if we listen to the world or if we listen to own hearts or if we follow our own hearts we are doomed! So please I plead with you in the new year: don’t listen to your heart if you don’t have a new heart in Christ! But even if you have a new heart, be aware your old self. It still needs to be put to death daily!

 Is the way of the world

The source of the ungodly is the counsel of worldly men, men devoid of the wisdom and knowledge of God. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:13,14, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many go that way..” The wisdom of this world will not lead you to salvation and blessedness. It may make you rich in early goods. It may lead you to success in business or in the corporate ladder. It may lead you to have a big family and to be a well adjusted individual in society or it may not, nevertheless, it will not lead you to lasting blessing. You may end up doing Yoga and in some spiritual form of religion like Buddhism or New Ageism or whatever form of asceticism, but it will not lead you to lasting blessing and holiness. Hedonism, asceticism and atheism, consumerism or adventurism or all the “isms” that the world puts forth as the way to happiness cannot lead you to blessing because it rejects God and righteousness and leaves Christ out of the equation.

2. The way of the godly and wicked

The way of the godly

 He separates Himself from ungodly counsel, sinners and mockers

The first thing the godly considers is the outcome of the ungodly and when he realize their fate and where the way of the ungodly leads he fears. Because the end of the ungodly is destruction, damnation and hell. The godly knows this and therefore separates himself from the wicked counsel of the ungodly. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what is evil and ungodly, it means he doesn’t follow the advice of the ungodly. He doesn’t stand in the way of sinners. He doesn’t become too acquainted with sinners. Bad company ruins good morals. Birds of a feather flock together. Iron sharpens iron. The godly don’t flock with the ungodly. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t know unbelievers personally or become friends with them. But we should be careful not to be influenced by their talk and jokes and sinful behavior. The mark of a converted man is that he separates from evil company. He does not sit in the seat of the scornful. Sin has progressive levels. First it allures you, and tempts you, then it makes a “nest on your head” and then you dive into that lifestyle. The godly has turned from the ways of the world, the counsel of the world, the pleasures of sin, and the mocking of Christ and God and righteousness. He has seen the destructive effects of sin and ungodliness, he has felt it in his own life, and therefore turned from it and is ever turning from it towards God. Biblical repentance is the trademark of the godly. Conviction of sin, contrition over sin, confession of sin, and conversion towards God, from the world to God characterizes his life.

 He meditates on the Word day and night. He not only reads or scans it

Verse 2 tells us in the text that the blessed man, the godly man or woman, meditates over the law and word of God. It is interesting that the Bible doesn’t say here that a man is blessed when he only reads the word of God. Just reading the Bible won’t make you blessed. But without reading it you won’t be blessed either. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day knew the Torah. They memorized the Torah. But they were not blessed because they didn’t obey the word! The Bible tells us in Psalm 1 that a man will only be blessed when he turns from ungodliness towards the Word and meditates on it. But we must start with reading. We can’t meditate on the word of God if we don’t read and know it, can we? So we must read it, first and foremost. For the last 15 years of my life I have read through the Bible once a year. And I think it is a good practice. Many Christians read through the Bible once a year, some read through it twice or even three times a year. But many times reading it can become a mechanical practice, a sort of legalism. We think just because we read the Bible regularly we will be helped. But in this psalm it is clear that the man who is blessed not only reads or listens to the Bible being read, but meditates on the word. If the Bible is the most important book in the world and if the way of blessing and the way of cursing and the way of eternal life and eternal damnation is clearly and truthfully taught in this book, then we owe it to ourselves not only to read, but to meditate and ponder and study this Book. That is why we have Bible studies at churches. And I want to encourage you today not only to be a reader of the Bible, and that you must be, but to be a pondered and meditator and a Bible student for life. Nothing is more critical for you to know and understand the contents of Holy Scripture. Because without knowledge of the way of salvation and blessing you cannot be blessed!

He finds joy and delight in the Word (Psalm 19)

But it doesn’t end there! The psalm tells us that God blesses a man who delights in the word and meditates on it day and night. In other words, the words of God is his constant and daily companion. He doesn’t only come to the Bible and quickly reads a few chapters and and then go on with his daily activities and work duties and forgets what he has read. We are not saying that all Christians must study the Bible five or ten hours a day. What this Psalm is telling us is that we must feed and be nourished by the word of God. Man does not live by bread alone but my every word that proceeds from the month of God (Matthew 4:4). Blessed is the man who receives his strength from the Bible. Blessed is the man who delights in the word of God as if he has found a great treasure!

Let’s be honest today:

Do you find pleasure in reading and thinking about God’s word?
Or is reading the Bible a boring exercise that you quickly want to get over with, and tick it of your “do to list” for the day?

Let’s be honest! Off course there are more exciting parts of Scripture than others, but in general, are you excited about the contents of Scripture?

Why should we find delight in the word of God?

Here are a few reasons:

 In it we find the nature and character of God on display, our Creator, we find supreme worth and beauty on display
 In it we find unchangeable and eternal truth that will shape the destinies of men forever, for bad or for worse
 In it we find the way of salvation and righteousness clearly explained and illustrated
 In it we find the words that will lead to fullness of joy
 In it we find the power that will renew and transforms our lives
 In it we find the Savior of the world and the way of eternal peace and life
 In it we find thousands of promises that will give you hope and build your faith
 In it we find God’s purposes and secrets revealed

The godly sees these things in Scripture and are so captivated by them that he longs to see more of God and Christ every day. He has received and embraced the truths of Scripture and that makes him blessed.

 He finds delight in the Word because of whom and what it reveals: God, Christ and his salvation (2 Timothy 3:16; John 15:7)

The only reason ultimately the godly is blessed is because he has found Christ in the Scriptures. He has seen the surpassing worth of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures, he has seen the salvation in Christ revealed in the Scriptures and he has embraced the precious promises of the Scriptures concerning Christ. He has been born again by the Spirit and because he has life in God he can appreciate the things of God. He has received forgiveness of sins offered and he knows that he is clothed with the righteousness of God. He knows that he belongs to God and God had given him or her His most precious gift, the Holy Spirit, as an eternal inheritance!

 He finds delight in the Bible, because of its transformative power (creates faith and repentance and obedience)

And not only that he experienced over time the transformative power of the Holy Spirit at work through the word of God and because he becomes more sanctified and because he experiences the power of God over sin and the purifying power of God in the word, he cannot but help to be addicted to the word. The mark of the godly is not only that he reads the word of God daily, and that he meditates on the word, but that he does it day and night, that he internalizes the word, that he thinks about it all the time and seeks to apply it every day of his life. He is a transformed man who believes the word in its totality to be true and trustworthy and he obeys the word of God. His word abides in him and he obeys the word constantly.

My friend I want to ask you: Do you long for the word?
Do you find more joy in it that in your favorite soccer team or television program? Let’s be honest!

Do you seek to be transformed by it?
Do you read to find God there and His will for your life?
Do you seek to apply the word constantly in your life?

The way of the wicked

 He walks in the counsel of the ungodly (he exposes himself)

The way of the wicked is foremost a problem of the heart as we said earlier. But it does not end there. The wicked exposes himself constantly to sin. He walks in the counsel of the ungodly. He is not satisfied with his own ungodly thoughts. He seeks affirmation from his ungodly friends so that he justify himself in his ungodliness. Birds of the same feathers flock together. We will rarely see ungodly men or woman who don’t seek friends with whom they can do ungodly things together. He exposes himself to more ungodly ideas and philosophies.

 He considers to do wickedness

Then he considers how he can act in ways that are ungodly without getting caught. Or he would try to find reasons to justify his ungodly line of reasoning. For example: the man who wants to sleep with a woman who is not his wife. Or a man who wants to evade paying income tax or the woman who wants to abort her baby. There are many ways to justify these actions. The wicked not only exposes himself to wicked ideas but considers how to perform them.

 He stands in the way of sinners.

He considers and finds delight in sinners and ungodliness. He has committed himself to the way of sinners. He has identified himself as one of them. These people are proud of being sinners. The sense of shame over sin has gradually decreased. Their consciences have been seared with a hot iron. They don’t feel the pain of sin in their consciences anymore. They don’t care about the consequences of sin anymore as long as they can be seen as one of the guys or girls or the “men.” Their eyes are filled with pride over evil deeds and wickedness.

 He participates actively and immerses himself in wickedness

He sits in the seat of the scornful or mockers. In verse one we see progression in a lifestyle of sin. Sinners are not as evil as they can be, but sinners become more wicked as days and years pass by. They invent more evil schemes and plans. They sin more and more and delight more and more in evil and in corruption. And in the final stage they become mockers of those who love righteousness and Christ. They start to ridicule and blaspheme the name of Christ, curse the Bible and what it stands for. They become nefarious opponents of Christianity and Christ and the church and many times persecutors of the church. They mock and insult the absolute standards of the Bible and will do this publicly. May God have mercy on the ungodly and the wicked for so was all of us at one point in time and for some, for longer periods of time! May God have mercy on your soul if you are one of the mockers of what is good and right and Christlike!

3. The outcome and goal of the godly and wicked

The outcome of the godly

 He bears fruit in his season (John 15:8).

In this psalm we see that a comparison is made between the godly and a fruit-tree that is planted by a river. Now if a fruit-tree is planted by a river and there is enough water this tree will bear fruit in it’s season. In other words, the tree will fulfill its reason for existence: to bear fruit and so be useful to humans and animals and provide them with necessary vitamins and nutrients to keep them healthy and prevent sicknesses. When I was in Ghana recently I was amazed when our host, Daniel, who is a farmer, explained to me the healing and nutritional value of papayas, coconuts, bananas, apples and other fruit. I was quite amazed! It made we want to eat coconut, papaya, tomatoes, apples and bananas every day!

The man who abides in Christ, who abides in His word, (John 15:7) is the man who will bear fruit in his season. There is no question about it. It cannot be otherwise. Just as a fruit tree who gets enough water cannot not near fruit. If our lives are anchored in the word of God and in Christ, an increasing amount of love and peace and joy and patience and goodness and kindness and humility and self-control and faithfulness (Galatians 5:22, the fruit if the Spirit) will be on display in our lives. And the more we stay in the Word and the more we abide in Christ more of these things will “hang” from our lives that will benefit and help and nourish the souls of men! It cannot be otherwise.

 His leaf does not wither. Photosynthesis.

Now fruit-trees does not always bear fruit, does it? It only bears fruit sometimes in the year. Sometimes it doesn’t bear fruit, but we can say it prepares itself to bear more fruit the next year. But some fruit trees always has leaves on them. Now leaves are of much benefit to the human race. If there were no leaves on any tree in the world life on planet earth will cease to be because the leaves on trees are responsible for the process called photosynthesis. This is the process in which the leaves of the trees absorbs carbon dioxide in the air and releases oxygen in the atmosphere. If there was no absorption of carbon dioxide and no release of oxygen into the atmosphere we would all sooner or later die! This psalm tells us the godly is like a tree whose leaf does not wither. Now I don’t know if the writer who wrote this palm knew this, but God certainly did! And he inspired the writer to write this down. A tree whose leaves do not wither is therefore of enormous value to our planet and for life on this earth. And so is the godly, those who abide in Christ, those who meditate on the word, day and night, and those who repent of being influenced by the evils of the world. What we say and how we say it exudes life, because of the life within us, who is Christ. The gospel we preach brings life and presents life. The Christ we proclaim and the life in us helps people to be cleansed. We are clean through the Word that Christ has spoken to us! The godly’s life has great benefit to the church and unbeliever, even if they don’t know it.

Everything he does prospers

Our text tells us that whatsoever the godly does prospers. Now certainly, this is a wonderful promise to believe. And it can certainly be applied to ordinary things we do in the business world or in our different professions, whether we are doctors, teachers, plumbers, housewives or engineers. And we see examples of this in Scripture. Joseph and Daniël were successful in all they did and were promoted in heathen kingdoms to rule over people because God was with them. But even they had much opposition that they had to face respectively. Look at David and Paul the apostle, David was a successful king and Paul was a successful church planter, but that didn’t mean they didn’t face much opposition and persecution because they abided in Christ and in his word.

But rather, this prospering is meant spiritually. When we abide in Christ and his word abides in us, what we ask we will receive because we ask the things that are on God’s heart and mind. We are more transformed into the likeness of Christ and we increase in the graces and knowledge of Christ because that is what we long for!

 He is forever blessed. He has salvation in Christ

And because we repent of sin and abide in Christ we are blessed because we have salvation.

 He glorifies God (John 15:8)

And this fruit that we bear glorifies Christ. The fruit of the Holy Spirit.

The outcome of the ungodly

 He is like chaff that the wind drives away (verse 4)

Chaff unlike the wheat or the corn that it is separated from in a winnowing trough or machine, has no function. You cannot eat it, it has no nutritional value. It is driven by the wind in different directions. So are the wicked. They are of no use in the end in the economy of God. Their lives have no purpose and meaning because they don’t have the life of God in them. God uses unbelievers for the saints sanctification, but in the long run, they will be thrown away. More than that…

 He will not stand in judgement

They will be condemned for their actions, and choices and sins and mockeries. They will be sentenced and the justice of God will be executed on them for not embracing the Word of God, for not fearing its warnings, for not believing in its promises and not embracing the Savior it portrayed.

 He will perish everlastingly

And their condemnation will be everlasting and just in hell and then in the lake of fire. Their way will perish, their mockery and scorn will end and their delight in their sin and in wickedness will end. God will reign over them in justice and judgement and so God will be glorified in their destruction.

My friend as you hear these words today:

What is your foundation or source?
The wisdom of the world and sinners or the wisdom of the Bible?

Which way characterizes your life?

Are you delighting and meditating on the word of God day and night? Or are you meditating and delighting on the ways and sins of the wicked?

What will be your outcome?

Will your life bear lasting fruit and will it benefit your neighbor? Will your be prospering in Christ Jesus?

Or will your life be like the chaff in the wind, useless and meaningless?
Will you be condemned with the rest of the ungodly?

May God and his Word, be your source and way and may His glory be your outcome and goal! Amen

 

 

Biblical Foundations for evangelism (Part 2)

The revelation of God (Holy Scripture)

The word of God recorded in the Bible is our standard to measure truth from deception and false doctrine from true doctrine about God, humanity, and salvation and sin, God’s standards for right and wrong and righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:14-17 is critical to understand why the Scriptures have been given to us. Paul the apostle is speaking to Timothy:

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy‬ ‭3:14-17‬ ‭ESV). ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

The aim of Scripture and the reason God has preserved it for the human race is so that we might become wise unto salvation through Jesus Christ and to teach us concerning righteousness and how to live God-honoring lives. The Scriptures were given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and they are enough and sufficient to teach us everything we need to know how to be saved for eternity, have eternal life in the Holy Spirit and how to live lives pleasing to God. We cannot add anything to the full revelation of God and we should never take anything away from sacred Scripture (See Revelation 22:18,19; Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6). God’s word is forever settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89). Not any Christian commentary, systematic theology, devotional book by renown Christian writers or any sermon preached or so-called modern day prophecy equals or supersedes the authority of sacred Scripture. Our lives, our Christian lives, should be based on sacred scripture, because in sacred scripture we see the revelation of the character of God, his ways, his standards for truth and righteousness and the way He worked out his redemptive plan in history. The 66 books we have in the Old and New Testament have sufficient information about God, not exhaustive, but sufficient to make us wise unto salvation and to correct our sinful behavior and attitudes, motives and words, so that we can be satisfied with God in Christ and the Holy Spirit. It is in the Bible we find the very words of God, the unchangeable words of God that revives us, directs us, comforts us, encourages us, regenerates us, warns us and guides us in the narrow way to heaven.

Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar (Proverbs 30:5,6 NKJV).

The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of the earth, purified seven times (Psalm 12:6 NKJV).

Because the Word of God is the chief agent in the work of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, we should know the word of God, study the word of God, memorize the word of God and meditate on the word of God, day and night (Psalm 1:1-4). The word of God is the primary power in evangelism and in the proclamation of the gospel. In the Bible we find the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes (Romans 1:16,17). We see that the Bible is the Sword of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) that it is still living and active (Hebrews 4:12) and that it is the word of truth by which we are born again.

“having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the LORD endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you” (I Peter‬ ‭1:23-25‬ ‭NKJV‬‬).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures” (James‬ ‭1:18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

The word of God is our weapon that pierces the darkness, that triumphs over deception and the lies of the devil as we read it and as we proclaim it wherever we go. It gives hope to the hopeless and convicts of sin, righteousness and judgement by the work of the Holy Spirit. By the word of God the church is sanctified and built up in love (John 17:17). Without the word of God we have no warrant to evangelize and to share the hope that is within us. It is the very foundation that the church is built upon and by God’s providence we have it today preserved in thousands of manuscripts in the world and translated into hundreds of languages around the globe. If we study history we see how God has preserved it through the work of his church and the Holy Spirit that even though we have variant readings in the thousands of manuscripts available to us we can determine with astounding precision the intent of the Holy Spirit through the pages of Scripture and the meaning of the word of God. The variant readings of the different manuscripts in Hebrew and Greek available to us do (comprising 1% of all the manuscripts) not in the slightest vitiate or overturn the truth of Scripture and God’s plan of salvation and our understanding of righteousness and what right and wrong and sin is. God has preserved for us so many manuscripts so that we can know with certainty how God wants us to live and how we can receive eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.

Although God used men to write the Scriptures we do now have, the primary author was the Holy Spirit. God is the originator of Scripture.

“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (II Peter‬ ‭1:19-21‬ ‭NKJV‬‬).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

The Word of God

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The Word of God, His Identity, His characteristics and His purpose

John 1:1-18
1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2) He was in the beginning with God.
3) All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4) In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
5) The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6) There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light,
7) that all might believe through him.
8) He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9) The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
10) He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.
11) He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
12) But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
13) who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”)
16) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
17) For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18) No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known (‭John‬ ‭1:1-18‬ ‭ESV‬).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Introduction

This passage is probably one of the most famous passages of the Bible and also one of the most important ones. This passage is also one of much controversy especially verse 1 and regarding the identity of the Word of God. The Jehovah Witnesses have changed the meaning of verse 1 in their Bible, and the Muslims have long debates over the meaning of verse 1 as well. They would say “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was a God”, not God himself!!! I remember a long and heated debate I had over verse 1 once I did evangelism in Durban in the year 2000 with a Jehovah Witness about this issue. John, the apostle, wrote this passage at the end of his life after he contemplated long and hard over the identity of God. He was Jesus’ beloved disciple and probably the closest to God of all the disciples. He was one of those who saw Jesus’ transfiguration on the Mountain and heard the voice from heaven saying: “This is my beloved Son, hear Him.” He was also immersed in the Roman Empire and immersed into knowing Greek culture which was the dominant culture at that time as Greek was the dominant language at that time. He knew exactly what he wrote as the Holy Spirit lead him.

In Greek philosophy, the word “Logos” is translated as “Word” and had a special and specific meaning relating to the first Mover or Causer of the Universe. The Greek Philosophers used the term “Logos” to refer to the Originator of all things. The apostle John came centuries after and knowing the significance of this word, used this word, “Logos” translated as “Word” in English and equates it with God, the Creator. We are going to look at four things today which I believe this portion makes clear: First the identity of the Word, secondly the characteristics of the Word, thirdly the purpose of the Word and then lastly the reactions to the Word. So let’s dig into the text.

1. The identity of the Word

— The Word is God. Verse 1 reads: “The word was with God, and the Word was God.” The implication of this verse is that there is more than one person in the Godhead! The Word was God. The phrase “In the beginning was the Word” is repeated, meaning before everything else, before time and space and matter and energy were created the Word was there. He was in the beginning. In other words from eternity past, He was there. God doesn’t have a beginning, and He doesn’t have an end. He is beyond space and time and matter and energy (Psalms 90:1,2).

— The Word is Jesus Christ (verse 14,17). The identity of the Word becomes clear in verse 14. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. In other words, the Word, which is God, became human and then we see in verse 17 the text reveals the Person who is the Word is Jesus Christ, full of grace and truth. This phrase “full of grace and truth” is also repeated. We get it also in verse 14. Jesus Christ is, therefore, God, the Word, who became flesh and is full of grace and truth.

— The Word is the Creator. Verse 3 reads: “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing that was made was made.” Verse 10 reiterates that truth, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him..” The letter to the Colossians 1:15-20 reveals: “everything was made through Him (Christ) and for Him”; “In Him, all things consist.” Hebrews 1:3 also says of Him, “He upholds all things according to the word of His power.” Jesus Christ was the first “Causer”, the first “Mover” the Originator of time, space, matter and energy! He is God! He is the Creator.

— The Word is the only Begotten Son of the Father. Twice this word “begotten” is used in the Greek. The ESV translated it as the Only Son. I believe “Begotten” is a better translation. That doesn’t mean Jesus was created. That is what the Jehovah Witnesses and the Arians centuries ago believed and attempted to teach. Jesus became a man in time. He became a human being; he became a baby, born of the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary, but before He was born as a human, He has always existed. That is what John testified in verse 15, “He who comes after me was preferred before me because He was before me..” (John 1:15, NKJV). Before Jesus was born, He existed. That is also what Jesus told the Jewish leaders later in the book of John, “So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John‬ ‭8:57-58‬ ‭ESV‬). ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

We know that when God revealed Himself to Moses at Mount Sinai, He said His Name was: “I AM what I Am” (Exodus 3). Jesus told the Jewish leaders He is “I AM” equating Himself with God. Hebrews 1:3 says the following about Jesus: “He is the exact representation (replica) of the Father.” The Word became a baby, but as Collossians 2:19 says “the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Him bodily.” Jesus is not less God than the Father. Jesus Christ is fully God. The Holy Spirit is also fully God, and the Father is also fully God, yet we don’t serve three Gods but One God, distinct in three Persons. Jesus is Almighty, the Father is Almighty, and the Spirit is Almighty, yet we don’t worship three Almighty’s but one Almighty! Jesus is omniscient, the Father is omniscient and the Holy Spirit is omniscient, yet we don’t serve three Omniscient Ones, but One God, distinct in three Persons. That is the mystery of the Trinity!

2. The characteristics of the Word of God

— He is Life. John 1:4 says, “In Him was life…”. John 14:6 says that Jesus is the life. He is the Fountain of life and of being (Psalm 36:8). Acts 17 reads: “In Him, we live and move and have our being”; “He gives us life and breath and everything.” Without the Word, there would be nothing, but God. The Word gives life, sustains life and takes life away. He is the reason we breathe and walk and think and reason and feel and enjoy and live! He is the Prince of Life as Luke said in the book of Acts.

— He is Light (verse 4-9) 1 John 1:5 reads that He is without sin, without darkness. He is incorruptible, without blemish, without fault. He is perfect in every respect of being. We know that the sun that was created by God, emits light and heat and is responsible for physical life, plant life, etc. to occur on this planet. In the same way, does Jesus Christ give us life and existence. He is the reason human beings exist and live and breathe and have consciousness and self-awareness and have a sense of right and wrong (moral motions) and have personality.

— He is glorious. He came to make known the glory of God (verse 14). Verse 14 says we beheld his glory, referring to the disciples. Hebrews 1:2,3 says that Jesus Christ is the brightness of the glory of God and 2 Corinthians 4:6 says that God has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ’s life and death on earth, we see the peak and pinnacle and magnitude of God’s glory!

— Out of His fullness comes grace and truth (verse 14,17). The brightness of God’s glory is to be found in the grace and truth of Jesus Christ. In Christ, we see the full panorama of God’s glory. His power, His meekness, His mercy, His Justice, His humility and His exaltedness, His grace and truth and love. God is without falsity, falsehood, and evil. God cannot lie. John 14:6 says that Jesus is the truth. He is ultimate reality and life. We consist in Him. He is grace. He gives us things that we don’t deserve. We deserve punishment, condemnation, damnation and contempt, because of our darkness and rebellion and sins, but God withheld His justice to be unleashed on us, because of Jesus Christ. As John 3:17 says, Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world but that the world may be saved through Him! God came to overlook sin, and His glory lies in this, that He came to save sinners like you and me, but it cost Him the highest price. He came to satisfy the truth and justice of God. He did not come to abolish the law of God but to fulfill it so that we can receive His grace and Spirit of truth and His righteousness.

3. The purposes of the Word of God

— He became flesh in Christ Jesus (verse 14). He tabernacled among us. The incarnation of God, the fact that God became a human being was planned by God before time began (Revelation 13:8; 1 Peter 1:17-19). In the Old Testament, the Tabernacle was the place where God’s presence was felt and experienced. The offerings of animals because of sin took place in the Tabernacle and the word used in Greek here “skenoo” has the meaning that God came to tabernacle among us. In other words, Jesus Christ came to bring us close to the presence of God. He came to manifest God’s presence, as He is and was God. He came to offer His own life as a sacrifice to bring us close to God. In Jesus’ humanity, He came to identify with us; He came to be our High Priest to identify with our weaknesses. Jesus wept. Jesus got tired. Jesus became dirty. Jesus became hungry and thirsty and experienced suffering and sorrow. He became one with us. He became a human to be our eternal sympathetic High Priest.

— He came to shine in the darkness and to overcome the darkness (verse 5). He drove away the darkness. Jesus’ miracles testified of that. Demons fled before His presence. Diseases were cured in his presence. He exposed men’s sins and secrets. Darkness couldn’t handle Him. And death could not hold Him! Through His perfect life, substitutionary death on the cross and resurrection he also overcame darkness and Satan (See Hebrews 2:12-14; Colossians 2:12-15). John the Baptist testified of Him, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus came to take away our sins, to destroy the darkness in us!

— He came to enlighten every man. Verse 9 says: “The true light that enlightens every man came into the world.” He came to show us our sin and give us real meaning and purpose. Psalm 18 reads: “He enlightens my darkness.” God came to show us our depravity and wretchedness and sinfulness. He came to show that our hearts are desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). After we see our rebellion and wretchedness God makes us new and we become children of light through faith, through the Holy Spirit. He comes to make us new creatures. He enlightens us! He unites us with Himself, with holiness and purity and joy through the Holy Spirit. Have you experienced that friend? Are you a child of the light? Jesus said in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

— He came to make God known (verse 18). Verse 18 says no one has ever seen God at any time, meaning no one has seen His face, no one has lived in His glorious presence from eternity past, except He who have always been with Him, who is Jesus. But, Jesus said to Thomas: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:7-11). Jesus Christ came to reveal who God is, who the Father is. He came to reveal God’s divine perfections. Jesus came to show us the full panorama of God’s majesty. Jesus came to declare who God is. He came to reveal God’s nature.

— Jesus came so that we may be born of God (verse 12), that we would believe in Him and receive Him. He came that we would trust in Him, that we would believe in Him. John 1:12 declares: “for as many as received Him, who believe in His Name (His Person) He has given the right to become children of God.” We are not born into the kingdom of God by natural birth, by infant baptism, by going to church or reading the Bible or by doing good things, but by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, by the hearing of faith, by the preaching of the gospel, by the abiding word of God (1 Peter 1:23-25). Jesus came that we may have spiritual life in the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ came so that people can be united to the true Light and Life. He came that we may become His adopted children.

 

4. The reactions to the Word of God

— John the Baptist came as a witness (verse 5,6). He was humble and pointed people to Jesus. He did not come to take the honor that was due to Jesus Christ. John the Baptist, who was the greatest prophet of all time, said: “He must become more, and I must become less” (John 3:30-36). Every significant person in history is dwarfed in significance in comparison to Jesus Christ. He must have the prominence ! He must be preeminent. He is above all. John the Baptist knew that, the apostle John knew that, do you know that? Or do you want to make a name for yourself? We are here to point people to Jesus! He is the source of Light and Life and salvation; we are mere reflectors and mirrors of the true light. John the Baptist knew this, do you know that?

— The world did not know Him (verse 10). People don’t know God intimately by nature. They may know of God or things about God. This is amazing! In Jesus’ time people knew Jesus but did not recognize Him for who He was. Some did like his disciples, but many did not know Him, and it is still the same today. Many know about Jesus, but they don’t know Jesus personally. Do you know Him? Jesus said: “This is eternal life, that you may know the Father and Jesus Christ whom He sent” (John 17:3). Jesus also said: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me…My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John‬ ‭10:14, 27-28‬ ‭ESV). ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

These were shocking words of John: “He was in the world, the world was made through Him, but the world did not know Him.” Is that so in your life? Is He among you, around you, but absent in you? Does He know you? Do you know Him? What a tragedy it would be if you don’t know Him! You would miss out on the meaning and purpose of your life! You would miss out on life itself; you would be a living corpse, the walking dead on its way to eternal shame, death and destruction if you don’t know Him! ‬
— His own (Israelites) did not receive Him (verse 11). The Jewish leaders and Jewish people rejected Him and eventually crucified him by the Roman soldiers. What an irony. The people who should have identified him the easiest were blinded to His real identity! Yes, the people of God, the nation of Israel didn’t receive Him. They all waited for the promised Messiah! There were hundreds of prophecies about Him in the Scriptures! They expected His coming for centuries. But when He came they didn’t receive Him! Most didn’t. They yelled when He was charged with blasphemy: “crucify Him, crucify Him!” Oh, the irony! They should have worshiped Him, yet they rejected Him and crucified Him! Have you rejected Him, my friend? Has God come and made His home within You? What would your reaction be?

— Those who receive Him, those who believe in Him, are born again (Verse 12). Out of His fullness those who believe received grace upon grace!! Does that experience describe you, my friend? Have you come to receive the gift of God, the living waters from within, the blessed Holy Spirit and forgiveness of sins in Christ?

 The Word’s identity is thus: He is God, His Name is Jesus Christ, He is the Creator of the Universe, and He is the only Begotten of the Father.
 The Word is Life. He is Light. He is infinitely glorious and full of grace and truth.
 The Word’s Purpose is that He came to be one of us, a human being, to identify with us and become our sympathetic High Priest. He came to shine in the darkness and overcome the darkness through His perfect life, death, and resurrection, and He came to make God known unto us. He also came to give us new spiritual life and adopt us as His own children.
 John was a witness of Him to the people of God. He pointed people to Him. The world did not know Him. His own people rejected Him, but those who receive Him, those who believe in Him have eternal life in Him.

I close with John the apostle’s statement: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John‬ ‭20:30-31‬ ‭ESV).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

 

Biblical Foundations for Evangelism (Part 1)

 

The sovereignty and election of God

When we talk about the sovereignty of God we mean that God is in absolute control over everything that He made. As Jesus Christ said: “not a sparrow falls to the ground without the will of my Father” (Matthew 10:28). Everything that happens in this world, that has happened and will happen occurs because God wills or permits it to happen. He can stop the birds from flying in the sky. He can stop your baby boy from crying. He makes the son to shine at the exact temperature He wants it to shine. He controls the winds (John 6:12) and the rainfall and the droughts on this planet. He works all things according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11). Whatever He pleases He does, in the heavens above and on the earth beneath (Psalm 115:6). No one can sway His hand, no one can thwart his purposes. What He has purposed he will do (Isaiah 46:9,10). He sets up thrones and rulers and He makes them to perish. He makes one rich and another person poor (1 Samuel 2:1-10). He makes alive and He kills (Deuteronomy 32:39). Every person dies at precisely at the time God wants them to die (Psalm 139:15,16).

Although God rules on high and although God is involved in the minutest details of every living thing, and although no cell in the human body can function without God’s sustaining hand, we are still responsible human beings and we are accountable for the lives that we live before Him. God is not the author of sin and evil and He is not responsible for the sin we are involved in. Having said this God still can stop people from sinning against Him if He so pleases. God orders everything in the world we live in exactly as He wants, yet He is not responsible for our evil motives, actions, attitudes or words. We call this the doctrine of concurrence. If we look at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and how He died for us we know that it was according to the predetermined counsel and plan of God that Jesus had to be crucified, (Acts 2:24) yet the Romand soldiers who crucified Him, the Jewish authorities who accused Him, Pontius Pilate who allowed it, Judas who betrayed Him, the disciples who fled and Peter who denied Him, all grievously sinned against God in the events that led to His crucifixion. And so it is with life in general. God allows many evil things everyday to happen in this world, but He can stop every sin if He so pleases, but He does not. And because of this truth, although we cannot understand the complexity of daily living fully with our finite minds, we worship God for who He is and pray to Him that He would save those whom He has appointed (Acts 13:48).

When we talk about the sovereignty of God in evangelism we believe that the work of the evangelist and believer in Christ is not in vain (Isaiah 55:10; 1 Corinthians 15:58). The work that God has called every believer to do will accomplish its purpose. God has a people across the world and when they hear the gospel being preached to them the first or second of hundredth time, they will believe as the Holy Spirit makes them alive to the truth of the word (John 3:3-6). When Jesus Christ came to this earth He came to give His life for the sheep, not for the goats (John 10:14-16). Jesus Christ came to give his life as a ransom (Mark 10:28) for many, not all people everywhere. Jesus Christ did not pay the debt of all people who have ever lived. If He did that then all people will go to heaven. If unbelievers don’t believe in Christ they go to hell. If Jesus died for the sin of their unbelief then even the sin of not believing in Him will be forgiven. But it will not. The Bible makes it clear that those appointed to eternal life will believe and be saved (Acts 13:48). All that the Father will draw to the Son will come to Jesus Christ (John 6:44) and those who come to Him in repentance and faith will never be cast out (John 6:37-40). When Jesus prayed before he went to the cross recorded in John 17:3-21, He prayed not for the world but for those who the Father gave Him and those who would believe in him by the word of God.

God has purposed that people from every people and language and tribe and nation (Revelation 5:9;7:9) will be saved and be there praising the Lamb and the Father forever and ever. Because God secured and purchased the elect’s salvation by the blood of Jesus, the appointed number will believe and God’s kingdom will have no end. Of the increase of Jesus’ government and peace there will be no end (Isaiah 9:6-9). The eternal salvation of the elect of God is sure and steadfast and immovable. Jesus Christ did not only make salvation possible for humanity. He actually secured salvation for those who will believe. The sheep hear Jesus’ voice, God knows them and they follow Him. God gives them eternal life, they shall never perish and no one will pluck them from His or the Father’s hand (John 10:27-30). Before the foundation of the world God has chosen the sheep in Christ to be holy and blameless before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4).

Because God has a people we as evangelists and Christians and missionaries can go out in the world and proclaim the gospel, knowing that those who hear and are effectually called and those who repent and believe will be forgiven their sins and be declared righteous by Christ. Because God is ruling, because God is sovereign, because God’s purposes cannot be thwarted, because all authority in heaven and on earth has been give to Christ, because Christ accomplished salvation for those who will believe, because Jesus Christ conquered the grave we can have all the confidence to go out and proclaim the glorious gospel and expect those whom God will effectually call (Romans 8:28-30) will be saved. As Romans 8:28-30 declares:

“All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes. For whom He foreknew He predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. And those whom He predestined He called and those whom He called He justified and those He justified He glorified”

And as Romans 9 states salvation doesn’t in the final analysis depend on human effort but on God who chooses. This is not an easy thing to hear but these truths are based on Scripture (Romans 9:13,14; Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:4-7; Romans 3:24-28). The election of God and the sovereignty of God remains to a large degree a mystery to human beings. God’s judgements are unsearchable and his ways are past finding out (Romans 11:33-36). God’s glory therefore remains.

Distress of Soul, God’s benefits and the believers’ Resolutions!

God's presence

Distress of soul, God’s benefits and our resolution.

Psalm 116

I love the Lord because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. The pains of death surrounded me, and the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the Lord: “O Lord, I implore You, deliver my soul!” Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, O my soul, For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For You have delivered my soul from death, My eyes from tears, And my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord In the land of the living. I believed, therefore I spoke, “I am greatly afflicted.” I said in my haste, “All men are liars.” What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord Now in the presence of all His people. Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints. O Lord, truly I am Your servant; I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant; You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord Now in the presence of all His people, In the courts of the Lord’s house, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord! (Psalms 116:1-19 NKJV)

Introduction:

At the end of a new year, I think it is fitting to look at this Psalm and to reflect on what God has done for us. We should reflect what situations of difficulty we were in before we knew the Lord and then renew our “vows” before the Lord. It is fitting to recommit our lives to God at the end of the year. For many it may have been a bad, stressful and difficult year, the past year, it may have been a year of missed opportunities, for others a year of prosperity and blessings and success. Whatever this year was like, we can look forward to new things. This year may have been a year where you have backslidden into sins you thought you’ve had victory over or it may have been a year of great triumph, financially, emotionally or/and spiritually. Let’s look how Psalm 116 can help us!

Verse 1 is in a sense a summary of the whole Psalm. Verse 1 is a declaration of the Psalmist’s love for the Lord, because the Lord has answered his earnest prayer and supplications. The Psalmist declares His love for the Lord not only because the Lord heard his supplications, but because God delivered him from his distress. And then the Psalmist gives a resolution that he will call upon the Lord as long as he lives. In other words, the Psalmist gives himself to God for time and as long as he will live because God did something for him. The rest of the Psalm is an unpacking of these three realities and can be divided into three parts. Firstly the Psalmist distress and difficulty are described, secondly, what God did for the Psalmist or “the benefits of The Lord” are described and then his declaration of purpose or his resolution is given.

1) The Psalmist describes his situation:

–The writer was in a desperate situation and called for help. He said: “The pains of death surrounded me, and the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the Lord: “O Lord, I implore You, deliver my soul!” (Psalms 116:3,4 NKJV). The person who wrote this Psalm wasn’t in a small fix. He was in a desperate situation! It could have been a physical danger or a near death experience, but what we can conclude is that he felt that “the gates of hell was about to swallow him up and that it would be the end of him.” He felt an intense spiritual need. He pleaded, “..deliver my soul!”. He not only experienced a need but that he was bound for hell. “The “pains of death surrounded me” and “the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me.” These are the words that he used. He knew something of the gravity of being lost and damned before God. He felt as if God was about to lay down his wrath on him. He was at the point to be overwhelmed by the powers of hell. It would not be wrong to say that the powers of sin overwhelmed him. He was bent on hell. It would not be wrong to conclude that he saw his immense guilt before God and that the reason why he felt trouble and sorrow was a consequence of his sins. He was in a desperate situation. He said: “I was brought low.” Dear listener have you been brought low before God? Maybe this Psalm describes your situation!

— If you are a believer in Christ you know that these words described you before you were saved. If you are not a Christian, these words describe a man who has been awakened to his sinful state and for many this will describe people who will go to eternity to hell who don’t know Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. They will experience the “pains of hell” and “the pangs of Sheol” forever and ever. When I read this Psalm, I could immediately identify because I was in such a fix before I met God. For those who know me, they know that I was involved with drugs and the occult before I met Christ. And I know that I experienced a war between darkness and light in my life when I came to Christ. I experienced attacks by the evil one, sorrow upon sorrow, distress, anxiety, and harassment by evil and then eventually deliverance from demonic oppression. I can identify with this Psalmist. But brother and sister do you know that even though you didn’t experience demonic oppression or possession that “the pains of death” also surrounded you and that the “pangs of Sheol” also laid hold of you? We were all hell-bent sinners before we were saved. We all have gone astray each to his own way (Isaiah 53:6). All of us have sinned (Romans 3:23) and we all have fallen short of God’s glory. We were all guilty before God. And the penalty for our numerous sins is spiritual death (Romans 6:23). The soul that sins must die (Ezekiel 18:20). Separation from God for eternity is what we deserve. — The wrath of God abided on all of us before we believed and obeyed the gospel of God (John 3:36).

— We started to experience a need for salvation and that the Holy Spirit worked in our lives. It was, in fact, a grace that we were burdened by the thought of God’s wrath abiding on us. It was, in fact, a mercy that God opened our eyes to our desperate plight. Many in the world don’t see their need for God, and they are the ones who are blinded by the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). The care-free, happy-go-lucky, self-sufficient are the ones in real danger. They are headed for an eternity without God, and many don’t know it! Friend, do these words describe your situation? Do you experience the “pains of death” or the “pangs of Sheol?” If you do, listen to what I am about to say to you.

2) What are the benefits of the Lord? What did God do?

— The Psalmist’s situation changed when he had a revelation of who God was. He mentioned three things. When he looked back on his life, he said: God is Gracious. God is Merciful. God is Righteous, and it is implied that he is Faithful as well, which He is. He preserves the simple. The Psalmist had a revelation of who God was. That is what the Bible reveals as well about anybody who are saved from their sins. Jesus said: “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matthew 11:27 NKJV). Salvation doesn’t come by education, but by revelation as an old missionary said. Then after the revelation the Psalmist started to call on the Lord. The Psalmist started to call for deliverance and mercy and grace from God. And He found that God was able to meet all his needs. Listen to what he says: “Return to your rest, O my soul, For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you” (Psalms 116:7 NKJV). After he had called to God, he found the benefits of the Lord. He found the bounty of the Lord. He tasted that the Lord was gracious. So let’s look at these benefits in particular.

God is gracious. That God is gracious means God gives us what we didn’t work for ourselves. For us as New Testament believers God gives us the righteousness of Christ. This righteousness is imputed to the believer in Christ. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life in our place. Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law on our behalf and credited it to our account. We cannot earn this righteousness, we cannot buy it with money, and we cannot work for it because we are all sinners. We all have a flawed righteousness. But God gives us this righteousness when we trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. That is why a God is gracious.

— God is merciful. God gives us not what we deserve. We deserve hell. We deserve eternal punishment. “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness” (Habakkuk 1:13 NKJV). Because we transgressed the law of God, we have guilt before a holy God. We have offended an infinite worthy and glorious God. We have lied, stolen, coveted other people’s possessions and wives or husbands, we have taken God’s name in vain, and we have made or worshiped idols numerous times. If anything or anyone has ever been more important to you than God, then you have committed idolatry. Jesus said: if you only look at a woman with sexual desire you have committed adultery (Matthew 5:28). If we hate another person, we have committed murder in God’s eyes (1 John 3:15). We needed to be punished for our sins. We need God’s forgiveness. The just punishment of sin is death. But God gives believers in Christ not what we deserve. He gives those who believe in Christ mercy. God is merciful. Over and over in the Bible God is called the God of mercy (Exodus 32:6,7; Psalm 145:8,9; Psalm 103:8; Jonah 4:2).

God is righteous. Our sins will never go unpunished. Never (Exodus 34:6,7; Nahum 1:3,4). God is righteous and holy and because of that we had to be punished for our sins, but God made a way so that we don’t have to bear the wrath of God and so that we don’t have to suffer everlasting punishment. Because God is righteous, we need to receive justice from God. But because of the perfect life and sacrifice of Christ on the cross 2000 years ago, outside Jerusalem on the hill called Golgotha, we can be justified. Because Jesus died as our substitute for our sins and took our punishment upon Himself, we can be acquitted. Only because of the crucifixion of Christ can we be blameless in God’s sight. God can now be just in forgiving us and be merciful and gracious to us, because of the substitutionary life and substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross on Golgotha 2000 years ago.

— God preserves the simple. God saves those who humble themselves and confesses their sins. The Bible promises: “Everyone who calls upon the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). But why would you call on God unless you think you need help? Unless you came to the end of yourself? Unless God humbles you, you would not call upon Him. God PRESERVES the simple. In other words, salvation is not an once off event where I needed God 20 years ago or four years ago when I was saved but now I go on in my own strength. No! We need preservation, sanctification, and protection from the powers of sin, self and Satan. We need constant help and saving power of the Holy Spirit. We need preservation and the main Agent here is the Holy Spirit. He preserves us from falling away from the faith. “You delivered my feet from falling.” God is in the business of preserving his saints. Salvation is ongoing and progressive. We need Him still. God preserves us. “You delivered my soul from death.” This may have been true in a physical sense for the Psalmist, but how much more is it true of us who believe in Jesus Christ? Through Jesus Christ’s life and death and resurrection, the power of death has been totally and decisively destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:50-58). O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?

— “I was brought low, but He saved me” God saved the Psalmist. He made him His child.

— God delivers us from depression and sorrow. “You delivered my eyes from tears.” He gives us joy. Salvation by God gives us inexpressible joy as 1 Peter 1:8 says. If there is not joy in your life, then it stands to reason if you are saved, because the fruit of the Spirit is joy.

— “He has loosed my bonds.” This statement refers to deliverance from the power and slavery of sins. Did you forget Christian that you have been delivered from the power of Satan? Did you forget that God has loosed your bonds? Satan is a defeated foe. Jesus broke the power of Satan once and for all at the cross. He disarmed him and made an open spectacle of him at the cross (Colossians 2:15).

— “I believed, therefore, I spoke” God granted him faith. The Psalmist had faith in the divine attributes of God. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). All these benefits would mean nothing unless we believe in them. Unless we believe they actually apply to us and are meant for us the benefits of God are of no value to us. This brings us to the next point.

3) What shall I give to the Lord for all His benefits? The Psalmist’s resolve.

“I will take the cup of salvation.” In other words, I will believe that all God is for me, and all that He has done for me in the Person and work of Jesus Christ ACTUALLY applies to me. I will run with His salvation. I will allow the Holy Spirit to apply it to my life. I will hold on to His salvation. I will take this cup, this treasure of Jesus Christ and the Father and the Holy Spirit and rest in God. “Return to your rest, o my soul.” I will soak it all in and be satisfied in God.

“I will call upon the Name of The Lord.” In other words, I will continue in my relationship with God. I will not give up or lag behind. God will not only be my God in distress and adversity but also in abundance and prosperity. I will keep on praying, seeking for help, advice, counsel, strength and salvation from God.

“I will walk before The Lord in the land of the living.” I will stay close to God. I will seek His fellowship. I will hide nothing. I will walk in the light as God is in the light. I will humble myself and confess what I need to confess. I will do restitution to whom I should do restitution. I will walk before God and ask for prayer from other Christians. “O Lord, truly, I am your servant,” Can we say this for this year? We are not serving and pleasing man, but God. “Truly?” “Really?” Is it money, man, wife, husband, family, children, career who you are primarily serving or are you primarily serving God?

–“I will pay my vows in the presence of His people.” I know Jesus told us never to make a vow because many times in the heat of the moment we promise God things something extraordinary which we find later on we cannot do. But every Christian owe God their lifelong worship, adoration and service. I will do what I promised God I would do. What promise did you make God when you were in a desperate time in your life? What did you promise God you would do if He were to save you from your sins? I know I had promised God certain things when I was in distress and when the “pangs of Sheol” got hold of me. Are your eyes still set on doing what you promised God? I know I purposed to serve God for the rest of my life just as the Psalmist did. This resolve means: I will lay my life down for His church. I will serve the Lord. I will die to self and comfort. I will take up the cross, deny myself and follow Jesus. It is interesting that the next verse after this resolution is: “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints”. By doing what you promised God, may result in your physical death, (like we witness now around the world as ISIS are beheading Christians in Iraq and Syria, just because they are Christians), but it will definitely mean death to self and death to your own selfish interests and selfish desires. This year is a new beginning for us all. Will we devote our lives, our time, our resources, our abilities, our talents, our money, etc. to God and live for Him?

“I will offer thanksgiving to God.” I will keep in remembrance the benefits of the Lord. The Bible is replete of the command to give thanks to God.

— “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:15 NKJV).

— 1 Thessalonians 5:16 “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (I Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV).

— Philippians 4:5-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6 NKJV), etc.

–Will you count your blessings this year as a regular exercise? Will you offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving to God? These five things were the Psalmist’s resolves. When he looked back on how God delivered him and when he pondered all the benefits of the Lord, he made these resolves. Will you do the same in the coming year?

Looking back on what God has done for you, will you take the cup of salvation?

Will you keep on calling on the Lord?

Will you walk before the Lord in the land of the living?

Will you pay your vows in the presence of his people?

And will you offer thanksgiving to God?

The rest of your life is taking off with a bang! Are you set to take off in it, with God, for God, and in God?

 

The Holocaust of our day and God!

Abortion is murder

The greatness of God’s knowledge, presence and creation towards the believer

1) O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

2) You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.

3) You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.

4) Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

5) You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.

6)Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

7) Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?

8) If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

9) If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

10) even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.

11) If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”

12) even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.”

13) For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

14) I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

15) My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

16) Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

17) How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

18) If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.

19) Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me!

20) They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain.

21) Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?

22) I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.

23) Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!

24) And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalms 139:13-24 ESV)

Introduction

The 1st of October was International Life Chain Sunday. As many as a million Christians in approximately 1 800 locations worldwide have participated in Life Chains previously. A life Chain is a peaceful protest using Placards and Posters where people gather to speak against the evil of abortion. A National March for Life organised by the National Alliance for Life (NAL) is planned in Durban and Life Chains are planned in 4 other cities in South Africa: Tembisa, Bloemfontein, East London and Cape Town.

The NAL is a loose affiliation of pro-life churches and organisations, formed in 1995. The Christian pro-life stance, that abortion is murder, is based on the fact that the Bible and medical science make clear: life begins at conception. The Life Chains recognise the abortion holocaust as one of the greatest evils being committed in the world today.

Abortion is Never Safe

In stark contrast to pro-abortion groups, who have proclaimed the 28th of September as the Global Day of Access for Safe and Legal Abortion, pro-lifers proclaim that no abortion is ever safe – a helpless pre-born baby is killed, and the mother is often physically, but always psychologically, wounded (as numerous peer-reviewed studies on Post Abortion Syndrome testify). Abortion is also the violation of the most basic Constitutional right – the Right to Life of innocent and defenceless citizens – the pre-born.

Pro-life groups and Bible believing Christians uphold the sanctity of life – that every life is valuable to God. As Christians we believe that life begins at conception. The pre-born baby is then genetically, physiologically and organically a distinct person. At about three weeks after conception the baby’s heartbeat can be detected. Six weeks after conception the baby has its own lifelong brainwave.

Every Life is Precious in God’s sight. When a nation devalues it’s most helpless and innocent citizens and allows them to be slaughtered in their millions, it is no wonder that all other life is treated as cheap. It is an urgent priority for the Church to expose, oppose and end this genocide of children made in the image of God.

War Against the Pre-Born

The Christian Action Network estimates the number of babies killed by legal abortions since 1997 to be well over 1 400 000. The Christian Action Network believes that the number of legal abortions is higher than the official amount – due to outstanding statistics from some provinces in previous years and a possible failure of some hospital officials to accurately record abortions in state hospitals.

The war against the pre-born is compounded by the illegal abortionists who are ensnaring vulnerable young women in every town and city in this country to use abortion as a contraceptive, for as little as R200.

So you may ask: where does God fit into this picture in what is happening not only in South Africa but around the wordl? Many more abortions have been conducted in the USA and China and many other countries. Does God not allow abortions to take place? Is He not Sovereign over all? Is He not in control?

I believe this Psalm helps us to see that God is Sovereign over all and that nothing escapes His knowledge but that at the same time He doesn’t condone the murder of babies in any way and in no way does he approve of the shedding of innocent blood.

In this psalm we see the writer writing things about God. He conveys his wonder of God. And then he relates that to murderers, those who brings evil things to pass and those who take the Name of God in vain. The context of this Pslam is a similar context that we find ourselves in. We see that men of blood, murderers, going about their business. We hear people who speak malicious things against God. We see people rise up against God. We see governments making abortion legal. We have seen in history where governments or rulers have devised plans to annihilate babies (like King Herod in Jesus’ time) and (Pharao in Moses’ time) and the apostate Israleites who sacrifices their babies to Baal. We have seen people taking God’s Name in vain.

In this psalm we see how the writer in a sense pleads his case before God in order to be vindicated. We are not sure of the precise context. It may have been David who was persecuted by King Saul who was seeking his life. Or it may have been God’s enemies trying to destroy His people. Nevertheless, the psalmist gives us a clear view on the God of the Bible and then ends with a plea to God that if he is on the wrong path, to guide him to the narrow path to heaven!

So let’s start at the beginning

  • The greatness of God’s knowledge 
  • He knows our past (behavior, thoughts, and speech) verse 1;

 

Verse 1 tells us that God has searched and known the writer. This verse indicate that God has sifted the writer like chaf is sifted from wheat in a winnowing trough. God has intimate knowledge of the writer. He knows him better than he knows himself. We get the idea that he tested and investigated the writer, his thoughts, his ways, his motives, everything about him. In verse 3 the writer also says, “you are acquainted with all my ways.” Nothing is hidden from God. The word acquainted also refers to the fact that God has scrutinized everything that has happened to the writer and all he has done in order to see what was good and bad.

1 Corinthians 13:10-13 tells us categorically that God knows us better than we can ever know ourselves. It clearly says there that we shall know ourselves one day as God knows us. God knows everything that we have ever done and why we have done them.

He knows our present (behavior, thoughts, speech) (verse 2,3)

“You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways” (Verse 2,3).

God knows right now what we doing. He knows that we are sitting down.

He knows what we are thinking and planning and even our motives for doing things. He knows our present thoroughly, he knows us through and through.

He knows our future (behavior, thoughts, speech) (verse 4)

“Before a word is I my tonque, you know it altogether”. God knows the future as well. In fact because God is outside of time, he sees all of history in a single moment. That is what verse 16 implies: “..in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” God knows the future because he controls and determines the future!

God knows everything at the same time! God is omniscient

There is nothing about any person God does not know! There is nothing about the past, present and future God doesn’t know. He knows all future possibilities. Some people should start to fear at this moment. Some people should start to feel ashamed at this moment. Nothing is hidden from God! No thought, no motivation, no secret deed or word utter in secret behind closed doors is unknown to him. For unbelievers this thought should be terrifying! God knows all the lies you have ever uttered. He knows everything you have ever stolen. He knows your selfishness, your selfcenteredness and your rebellion! But then he also knows your diligence in working for Him and honoring Him! Verse 5 gives the beliver in God such comfort!

God’s protection and sovereign control towards his children

“You hem me in, from behind and before. You lay your hand upon me” (verse 5). If you look at the original language you see the language here used is that of arresting a person. It gives the impression that you are in a grip and that you cannot get out. You are surrounded. There is no escape! For the beliver that is good news. That is comforting, although maybe not at first because our lives are by nature defiled by sin. There is repentance needed. Confession of sins need to take place. There is restitution to be made. There is surrender to take place to God. The next line is most comforting for the believer in Christ. “You lay your hand upon me.” I take that to mean that God is there to keep and protect the believer. God knows all your trials, your temptations, your sins. And yet he does not destroy you instantly. He is merciful! He is patient. He is gracious. He sets his eyes upon us to help and to forgive and to bless. He is there to give security and safety and this happens in His Son Jesus Christ! God is there to lay his hand upon me. God is there to take possession of me! He makes me His! Therefore the writer burst out saying: “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me! I cannot attain it!” Yes God doesn’t only know it all, but He is there for relationship! He is there to make covenant with us! He is there to help, to heal, to forgive, and to comfort with His Spirit! The greatness of God’s knowledge and His omniscience is that God doesn’t hold the sins against the believer! God removes our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. He remembers our sins no more!

  • The greatness of God’s presence

 

The next verse comes as a surprise. It seems like this knowledge of God’s omniscience is frightening to the writer: The writer says:

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!”

But this question, I believe, doesn’t imply that the writer wants to flee from God. The answer he gives at the end gives the indication that his conclusion about God’s presence is comforting to him!

God is in heaven (verse 8)

Yes, we know God is in heaven! Heaven is his home. That is where his glory is manifested in a magnificent way! He is heaven, but he is also in Hades!

God is in hell and the place of the dead (verse 8)

The place of the dead or Hades, we can also say is hell. Hell is not a place where God is not present. Death cannot separate us from God. And even if I find a place of comfort when I die and it not in heaven, God will still be there! Hell is the place where God is present to punish! God’s wrath is unleashed in hell! But the writer tells us here that even if he goes there, God will be present! Then he goes on to say:

“f I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there you will be there” (verse 9) Wings of the morning is where the sun rises. It is the east and the sea was the west for the Israelites. So you could say, even if I go to the Far East or to the far west or even if you go to China or even if you go to live in the ocean, God will be there. So in fact the truth he wants to bring across is that God is everywhere. Because if we follow logically the preceding truth that God knows everything he must be everywhere to know everything.

God is everywhere on earth at the same time (verse 9). God is omnipresent

Because how can He know everything of all people if he wasn’t there to witness it? So God’s omniscience must include is omnipresence. There is not a place where God is not! And that means he is everywhere at the same time. And if God knows the future and what will happen then it means that He is there already! He is outside of time. He is already in the future. We can say He is everywhere present all the time, past, present and future! What a being! It boggles the brain!

God is light (Nothing can be hidden from God) (not the darkness) (verse 11,12)

And then the writer tells us categorically that if God is everywhere present, he is always present, during the day and the night! We can come to the conclusion that because we can’t see each other when it is dark, then God may not be able to see us or know what is happening to us or what we are doing either! But no! God sees in the dark! And again this truth is underlined! We can’t hide anything from God! We have to come out with it! For the rebellious it is frightening! They have to give an account of the things they do in the dark! But for the believer it is comforting! God knows my suffering, my injustices and the evil of my heart and he knows my pain! And he knows the sins in my life! But more comforting is this:

God is there to lead and to hold the believer (verse 10) (e.x. Jonah) with his right hand (Romans 8:38,39)

“even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me” (verse 10).

Even if we were to be taken captive and sold as slaves to China or abducted and left on a Pacific island or even if all our possessions are taken away and we find ourselves destitute, the Bible tells us that if you are His, his child, then God will lead you, yes, His right hand will hold you! If God is for you who can be against you! Yes, if Chirst died for you and rose from the dead for you and bore God’s judgement on that cross in your place and if He went to heaven and is interceding for You right now, what does it matter what happens to you? Christ is at the right hand of God! He is powerful to save you! Nothing and no-one will be able to separate you from the love of God in Christ! That is if you are His! His right hand will uphold me! Is there anything better than that! God is with me! God is for me! God is in me! Halleluja! But this is not all!

  • The greatness of God’s creation and design
  • God created humans in our mothers womb (verse 13,15,16)

 

Verse 13 goes on to say that God is the One who made the writer and us. It is not my father or mother or their fathers or mothers or their parents that were the decisive cause for my existence! It is God who formed my inward parts. Literally it means: God formed my kidneys, or that he is the One who started the fetus, the very beginning of you and I. The Bible says here that it is He that knitted me together in my mothers womb! So God was the One there at work. Yes, my mother looked after me, she fed me, but God is the active one here. And if we look at the human body and all it’s parts and how everything must work together at the same time, the heartbeat that starts after about three weeks and the brainwave that can be detected by doctors after six weeks and the bones and all the cells in the body with the immune system and lungs that are formed all at different stages then we know God was at work in us! These things don’t happen by chance. God is a most magnificent engineer!

 Life begins at conception (heartbeat, brainwave)

Life doesn’t begin when we we come into this world and the embellical cord is cut. When we are born into this world it is just a change of environment for a human being. Life starts at conception! If we say that the death of a human life is when no brainwave can be detected and no heartbeat is present, why do we not conclude that the start of a human being is the start of a heartbeat and a brainwave! In fact, at conception, a human being is genetically, physiologically and organically a distinct person! So if we look at the complexity of life we should cry out with the writer!

 We are magnificently created, in God’s image (verse 14)

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well”

And why is the writer filled with praise? Not only that God started his work in his mother’s womb, and that God made him with such care and precision, but the fact that a person is amazingly and wonderfully made is because he or she was made in the image of God! We were made with reason, with consciousness, with intellect and emotions and the ability to reflect and communicate and to love and hate and enjoy, not only God’s creation, but each other and God! That is why we are fearfully and wonderfully made! We were made with souls, that will never cease to exist! We were created in God’s likeness!

 God determines when we will live and die (verse 16).

Then in verse 16 the writer tells us that our days, every one of them, were written in God’s book before they began!

“…in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

Now although some translators say that the “every one of them” refer to the different members of the body, surely the context in this text dictates that if God knows the future, present and past then he knows when we are going to be born and die. And God doesn’t only knows it he determines it. He is in control of it. He not only makes and creates, He determines how long each of us will live. When our lives will begin and when we will die is determined by Him!

 God hates the shedding of innocent blood (verse 19),

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: “haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil,” (Proverbs 6:16-18 ESV).

This psalm talks about those who murder, those who take God’s Name in vain, those who despise the image of God (verse 19-22). And then we see the psalmist reaction towards those who hate God.

1, 4 million babies have been murdered in South Africa that we know of since the legalization of abortion in 1997. More babies have been murdered by humans through abortion than in the Islamic and Atlantic slave trade combined. Abortion is far worse than the slave trade! More human beings have been slaughtered by abortion around the world than in World War 2 and communism combined! More than 100 million!

If God is so wonderful and so magnificent and if we are so wonderfully created in His image and intricately woven in our mothers’s womb by God, who is man to decide to murder what God has created! Abortion is the curse of humanism and atheism, where man decides when and how people should die. We find indignation from the psalmist in this psalm against the arrogance of wicked men. Dear listener, when you hear of hundreds of babies being butchered, smothered and murdered in the mothers womb here in Gauteng, at hospitals and in clinics with tax payer’s money, by doctors and nurses and educated people, how should we react? Should be remain silent? Should we turn the other way and make as if nothing is wrong? No, holy dissatisfaction with the status quo should be our reaction! Holy anger!

  • Unfitting (sinful) and fitting (godly) responses to God

 

  1. Hatred towards God’s enemies (verse 21,22)

“Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.” (Verse 21,22)

Now we can say this is an unfitting response and an unholy one. Yes, we should hate sin, but as Jesus said, we must love our enemies. This might be difficult. When people persecute you and blaspheme God and kill a family member, it is not easy to love your enemies. No one ever said it is easy. But that is why Jesus commanded us to be different.

2. Hatred for sin (verse 19-22)

In verse 19-22 we see that the writer pleads with God to slay the wicked. The reasons are given: because they take the Name of God in vain because they murder and are men of blood. We find in this writer a hatred for sin and that is commendable. We should hate the fact that murderers get away with murder. We should be indiganant about the fact that people take God’s Name in vain etc. In other words, hatred for sin is good and necessary, but it should be separated from hatred towards the sinner.

3. Awe and wonder and praise (verse 6, 14,17,18)

“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.” (Verse 17,18)

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (verse 14)

Let’s be honest: when you think of God’s attributes, his omniscience, his omnipresence, his creation in general and of you, do end up praising God, do you bow down before Him in awe and worship?

4. A plea for God’s Spirit to reveal sin and guidance unto eternal life (verse 23,24);

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (verse 23,24)

Why does the writer ask for God to show him his sin, if there be any grievous way in him? Is it not so that he can confess it to God, so that he can repent of it, and so that he may please God more? He is pleading for God to search his heart so that he may please God and not grieve God. He pleads with God so that his idolatrous ways may be destroyed. That is what the word grievous in the Hebrew literally means. So in this petition the writer not only asks for an awareness of his own sin, but for guidance and a repentant heart, to do what God wants him to do and so to please Him. May God lead us all into the everlasting way! Remember grievous and idolatrous ways are not only offenses against the law of God, but sins also sins of omissions: things I haven’t done to the glory of God.

Proverbs 24:11-12 “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?” (Proverbs 24:11-12 ESV)

So to come back to the beginning. What can and should be done about the Abortion Holocast happening in South Africa and around the world?

What can be done in connection to abortion?

  • The Christian Action Network urges everyone to scrape off illegal abortion posters whenever possible. You could potentially be saving the lives of two people – both the pre-born baby and the mother (as many women die from these backstreet abortions).
  • The Christian Action Network also urge you to lay charges against illegal abortionists at your local police station. A form detailing how illegal abortions violate both the Termination of Pregnancy Act and Medicines Act has been drafted for this purpose and can be downloaded from the Christian Action website.
  • Consider giving your time at a crises pregnancy centre to counsel, pray and support women with unwanted pregnancies. Make these centers known to young people. There is a way out! They shouldn’t feel force or trapped and see abortion as the only way out.
  • Consider adopting a child or encouraging woman who can’t have children and who want children to adopt a child. We know as Christians we were not by nature God’s children, we were adopted into God’s family.
  • Teach young people and children about the evil of abortion and the sanctity of life since conception. Do Bible studies on abortion! Teach young people to not engage in behavior (sex before marriage) that lead to unwanted pregnancies. Promote sexual purity and abstinence until marriage.
  • Participate in a Life-Chain in your area or protest in front of a Hospital or clinic that practices abortion. Hand out tracts! Inform the public.
  • Use social media to make people aware of what actually happens at an abortion. You can literally save a life! There are short films of abortion on YouTube you can share! Living Waters made a good film about abortion called: “180” Movie
  • Vote for political parties that are pro-life and anti-abortion. Support candidates that hold to the Biblical view on when life starts. Have a clear conscience when you vote.
  • Pray that God would intervene in the lives of those involved in practicing abortion and bring them to repentance unto life.
  • Pray that our constitution will protect the most helpless of all and that doctors and nurses will be convicted of their sins.

Proverbs 24:11-12 “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?” (Proverbs 24:11-12 ESV)

An evil plan, a death and the Conquering God

 Repentance pic

An evil plan, a death and the Conquering God

“Now Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. And after this Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house, and I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money.” But Naboth said to Ahab, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And Ahab went into his house vexed and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him, for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food. But Jezebel his wife came to him and said to him, “Why is your spirit so vexed that you eat no food?” And he said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money, or else, if it please you, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ And he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’” And Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now govern Israel? Arise and eat bread and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, and she sent the letters to the elders and the leaders who lived with Naboth in his city. And she wrote in the letters, “Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth at the head of the people. And set two worthless men opposite him, and let them bring a charge against him, saying, ‘You have cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him to death.” And the men of his city, the elders and the leaders who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them. As it was written in the letters that she had sent to them, they proclaimed a fast and set Naboth at the head of the people. And the two worthless men came in and sat opposite him. And the worthless men brought a charge against Naboth in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death with stones. Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned; he is dead.” As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, “Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money, for Naboth is not alive, but dead.” And as soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab arose to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who is in Samaria; behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone to take possession. And you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Have you killed and also taken possession?”’ And you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: “In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your own blood.”’” Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” He answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do what is evil in the sight of the Lord. Behold, I will bring disaster upon you. I will utterly burn you up, and will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel. And I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the anger to which you have provoked me, and because you have made Israel to sin. And of Jezebel the Lord also said, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel within the walls of Jezreel.’ Anyone belonging to Ahab who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the open country the birds of the heavens shall eat.” (There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited. He acted very abominably in going after idols, as the Amorites had done, whom the Lord cast out before the people of Israel.) And when Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his flesh and fasted and lay in sackcloth and went about dejectedly. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster upon his house.””

(1 Kings 21:1-29 ESV)

Introduction

In this portion of Scripture we see four main characters: Ahab the king of Israel. Jezebel the wife of Ahab. Naboth an Israelite and Elijah the prophet of God. We also see worthless fellows as the text indicate, false accusers.

Ahab as the text said sold himself to do evil in God’s sight. And Ahab’s wife Jezebel did much to make him a worse individual. They erected Baal statues in the land of Israel and they worshipped Baal. They were instrumental to lead the nation of Israel into much idolatry. But through Elijah God judged the Baal prophets at Mount Carmel. We see how the story played out in 1 Kings 17. God showed in that story that He was the true King and God of the Universe and that He should be worshiped alone. God showed that He has omnipotent power and that He does miracles. However, even after the display of God’s power at Mount Carmel Ahab was not persuaded to leave his service to Baal.

He wanted the inheritance of an Israelite. He wanted the vineyard of Naboth. So in this story we see Ahab going to Naboth and asking him to give him his inheritance, his vineyard, for money or for another one. On the surface it didn’t look like evil. Ahab offered him a bigger vineyard and Ahab wanted the vineyard because it was next to his palace in Samaria. It looked like a good deal. But Naboth refused, because he believed that God had given him his inheritance and to sell it would have gone against his conscience. He said to Ahab: “The Lord forbid that I give you the inheritance of my fathers.” Ahab became dejected and depressed because he could not get what he wanted. Then his wife Jezebel came and asked him why he was dejected. Ahab told her. And what did Jezebel do? She devised an evil plan to get Naboth’s vineyard.

Let’s look at this story more closely. Why has God given us this story in the Bible? What can we learn from it? Was it given simply to tell us what evil women and men with power can do? Was it simply to tell us how evil people can get what they want when they want something? Surely not! We know that evil people exist and that evil people throughout history have devised evil plans to get what they want. But what is the intention of the Holy Spirit in this story? How is it relevant for us in this age?

  1. An evil king representing an evil enemy

The Bible says in this story that there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do evil. Ahab and his wife Jezebel were evil people who served false gods. They were real people in the history of Israel. But they also represent Satan in this story. Satan was an angel of God who wanted authority over God in the beginning of history, but because of his pride God cast him out of heaven (See Luke 10:18,19). And even though he thinks that he owns this world, he doesn’t. He has been cast out of the eternal inheritance of God. This earth belongs to God and its fullness (Psalm 24:1). But because he isn’t yet destroyed in the lake of fire he roams around in the world like a roaring lion and the sinful world is in the sway of the evil one (1 John 5:29).

In this story we see Ahab wanting something that was not rightfully his. He wanted the inheritance of someone else. Yes, he wanted to buy it which was not wrong, but he wanted something which was not his. We call that greed. We also as believers in Christ should learn that we should be content with what God has given us. We shouldn’t covet things like Ahab did. We should be satisfied with and thankful for the land or possessions and things God has given us. We also shouldn’t make alliances with evil people like Ahab did. He married a godless woman, Jezebel. He was unequally yoked with an unbeliever and idolater. And then led to his downfall. Jezebel incited him to do much evil. Evil company corrupts good morals.

But further we learn that Ahab was like Satan. He became king of Israel but having gotten to this lofty position he wanted more. He wanted the inheritance of Naboth. Even though God gave Satan a high position in heaven he lost it and his inheritance. Ahab wanted things which was not rightfully his and so did Satan in heaven. He wanted God’s place.

Though Satan lost his high position in heaven he is seeking to make God’s inheritance on earth his own. He believes that this world or this earth belongs to Him. In a sense the kingdoms of this world does belong to him, but not ultimately. Because all the kingdoms of this world will be destroyed. Satan has no lasting and eternal inheritance except for suffering in hell! Satan will not succeed in making God’s inheritance his own. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness of it. And God gives his inheritance to whom he wills. Our God is the Sovereign Ruler.

2.A death for an inheritance 

Naboth was caught in between the king’s greed and Jezebel’s cruelty and mercilessness. Naboth believed in God. He said to Ahab: “The Lord forbid that I give you the inheritance of my fathers.” He knew that God had given him and his forefathers an inheritance. God gave the land of Israel to the Israelites, the descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Naboth was not willing to give his inheritance to a godless King. That would have been a great sin in his eyes!

What Jezebel did was the worst sort of crime: She ordered two worthless fellows to falsely accuse Naboth, namely of cursing Ahab and God. She ordered the execution of an innocent man in the name of religion and God!! She used the Name of the Lord in vain. And she eventually did not go unpunished. Not only did she use the Name of Jahwe in vain, she used the Name of the Lord to execute an innocent man in order to get a piece of land that her husband coveted. Here we find a woman in the Bible who not only sought to kill the prophets of God, and succeeded to some measure, but she was at the forefront in leading King Ahab and the whole of Israel to be idolaters. What she did in this story was the ultimate evil. She used the Name of Jahwe to lie, murder and steal.

What Jezebel did is not an isolated case among unbelievers. In the Name of Christ or God many true Christians have been murdered. We only have to look back a few centuries in Europe where the Roman Chacholics burned alive and excecuted thousands of Protestant believers in Christ. Or we look back at the bloody history of Islam where millions of Christians and others have been murdered in the name of God. God will not hold them quiltless who misuse His Name for selfish gain! Do we not find this in today’s so called ‘Word of faith’ movement where church members who are poor are encouraged to “sow a seed in faith” so that God can bless them. Many so-called faith preachers has enriched themselves and even caused the death of sick members in the church promising them health and wealth if they just “sow enough seed” to the pastor!! Many people still today enrich themselves by using the Name of God just as Jezebel and Ahab did. Many people still represent Satan on earth and are rightfully called children of the devil. Because of Ahab’s greed Naboth was murdered!

If we read this story carefully we see many parallels and analogies between Naboth and Jesus Christ, the Savior!

  • Naboth refused to give his inheritance to another because He inherited it from his fathers and God. Jesus Christ has an inheritance in heaven. In fact the elect of God is his inheritance. Jesus Christ refused to bow down to Satan and lose his inheritance (Matthew 4:1-11).
  • Naboth was falsely accused of cursing the king and God because he held on to his inheritance. Jesus Christ was falsely accused on grounds of blasphemy because he was unwilling to deny the truth and forfeit his inheritance in the saints.
  • Naboth died because of his inheritance. Jesus Christ died for His inheritance. Jesus Christ layed down his life for the salvation of his sheep.

We see further that Ahab did not condemn what Jezebel did but went forth to take possession of this inheritance and vineyard of Naboth. We also see this in the world playing out. Evil men attempt to disinherit God’s people from their inheritance. Evil men put stumbling blocks in the way of God’s people to destroy them. They try to take God’s people’s possessions by force, by murdering and lying and stealing what does not belong to them. Satan attempts also to take what rightfully belongs to God through his human agents on earth. Satan even now wants to rule over the earth.

But Jesus died for the sins of believers so that they may have an eternal inheritance with Him in the new heavens and the new earth where righteousness will dwell. Jesus Christ left his throne in heaven, was falsely accused by the Jewish leaders. He was crucified, died a criminals death, just as Naiboth, so that we can inherit the eternal inheritance of the Holy Spirit within us. God has given us the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our inheritance to come (Ephesians 1:13,14).

Jesus Christ came so that we can have an eternal possession in God. Satan cannot steal that from the children of God. He can kill God’s children. He can do them much harm. He can devise plans to get to our inheritance but he cannot steal it and he cannot destroy God’s people.

  1. God pronounces judgement on evil people

We see in this story that God used Elijah the prophet to go to Ahab to pronounce judgement on him. Elijah represented God in this story.

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who is in Samaria; behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone to take possession. And you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Have you killed and also taken possession?”’ And you shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: “In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your own blood” (1 Kings 21:18-19).

Ahab was a thief and a murderer. And we are sure that he did many more evil things things that the Bible didn’t even record. For the Bible says that he hunted the prophets of God to kill them and that he sold himself to do evil. But God’s judgment came upon him eventually. Ahab was taken out. We see that in the next chapter of 1 Kings. Not only he but his whole family was going to be destroyed.

Elijah said to Ahab “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do what is evil in the sight of the Lord. Behold, I will bring disaster upon you. I will utterly burn you up, and will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel. And I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the anger to which you have provoked me, and because you have made Israel to sin.” These words of God are utterly terrifying: “I will utterly burn you up” (1 Kings 21:20-22). Not only was God going to kill him but he was going to go to hell, because of his sins. He was going to a place where the worm does not die and where the fire will not be quenched.

God’s judgment will eventually come upon idolaters and murderers and thieves as the Bible says. No idolater, no homosexual, no adulterer, no liar, no greedy person or extortioner or thief will inherit the kingdom of God! (1 Corinthians 6:9,10). Although Ahab lived a while after this evil act and his idolatries, judgement eventually came upon him. We see this in the next chapter in the book of 1 Kings. And although evil people have lofty positions in society, and although they enjoy comfort in this world or the comfort of their sins, judgement will eventually come upon them. God is not mocked. What a man sows that he will reap.

4.Suspended judgment on worldly repentance

But then we see something strange in this story. We see that Ahab repented. He fasted and put sackcloth upon his head. What should we make of Ahab’s repentance? Was it genuine? Was it lasting? Was it Biblical repentance that lead to his salvation?

I will argue which I believe Scripture makes clear, that his repentance was of a worldly sort. The Scriptures distinguish between godly and wordly repentance (See 2 Corinthians 7:10-14).

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10 ESV).

We find many examples in Scripture of worldly grief. Cain who killed Abel had wordly grief. So did Esau who sold his inheritance to Jacob. King Saul had wordly grief after he didn’t obey God’s command to kill the Amalakites whom God devoted to destruction. So did Judas the disciple after he betrayed Jesus. They had sorrow over their sins. They regretted the evil that they done. But their sorrow was short lived. They had no genuine repentance unto salvation!

Ahab was sad because he got news that his whole family would be wiped out and killed. He got news that the birds of the air and the dogs will feed on them. How horrible! Who wouldn’t be dejected after hearing such news!?

And even though God took notice of his repentance, God didn’t change his plan to wipe out his family and kill his wife and himself. We see later in 2 Kings how Jehu was raised up by God to kill the descendents of Ahab (his sons) and to kill Jezebel. Ahab’s repentance was of a worldly sort. His repentance was of a temporary sort. We also find a temporary repentance described in Matthew 13:1-20.

In the parable of the sower the seed which represents the word of God is sown in different kinds of soil. Some seed fall on the ground but because it it shallow the seed quickly withers. Other seed are sown and it comes up but the seed is choked by thorns and thistles. When Jesus explains this parable to his disciples he tells them some people have a short lived faith or repentance. It looks like that there is spiritual life. It looks like they have joy over the word and they accept the word of God. But then we see the seed does not bring forth fruit. The same happened to Ahab. He felt sorry over his sins. He had sorrow. But his repentance was not lasting and enduring.

Did Ahab’s repentance bear lasting fruit? Did he destroy the Baal and Asherah poles and false religion in Israel like King Hezekiah and Josia did? We have no record that he did! He had some good qualities in his repentance but it was shot-lived! In the next chapter in the book of 1 Kings we see how God sought out a way to get rid of Ahab. No! This man was still sold out to do evil! He was sorrowful that God would kill him and in the way God was going to do it and how his sons and his wife would be judged. But judgement was only suspended in the case of Agab.

And so judgement is only suspended for worldly people who are as bad as Ahab and worldly and ungodly people who serve and worship other gods: like Pornography, money, fame, lusts, greed and themselves. The full force of judgement is suspended for Satan and his angels. It is suspended for evil people who live now on earth, but judgement will come and judgement will be excecuted on the godless and the faithless in God and those who sell themselves to do evil.

Conclusion

Friend have you genuinely repented of your sins? Let us examine ourselves to see why we want Christ as our Savior and Lord. Do we want him because we don’t want a violent death? Do we want Jesus Christ merely because we don’t want to suffer in hell? Do we want Jesus because we have been caught out sinning and because of the shame it caused in our lives? Or do we want Christ for the Treasure that He is? There is a repentance that leads to death as in the case of Ahab, as in the case of Esau, as in the case of Judas etc. There is a repentance towards God that is not lasting and real and of the genuine sort.

Do you have the real deal? Have you repented unto life?

Naboth died for his inheritance God gave him. He was stoned to death and so throughout history many children of God have died for the sake of God to receive an inheritance that is unfading, undelifed and incurruptable that is kept by the power of God (1 Peter 1:3-11).

Are you willing to die for God’s inheritance in heaven like Naboth was willing to die for God’s inheritance? Are you like Naboth who was unwilling to bend the knee to evil rulers and evil people? Are you willing to die for the honor of God’s Name and God’s people?

Jesus Christ sacrificed his own life so that we can have an eternal inheritance in heaven with Him. He died so that the Holy Spirit can make his home within us forever! What a Savior we have!

Have you accepted God’s sacrifice on your behalf? Have you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior who was willing to die for God’s honor and to secure an inheritance in heaven for you?

God’s judgement will come and it will be severe to those who commit themselves to do evil! God’s judgement is suspended for the ungodly but it will come in full force! God in the end will conquer over his enemies!

The Final Judgement

shepherd-2

The sheep and the goats

Matthew 25:31-46

31) “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
32) Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33) And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
34) Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35) For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, I was a stranger, and you welcomed me,
36) I was naked, and you clothed me, I was sick, and you visited me, I was in prison, and you came to me.’
37) Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
38) And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
39) And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40) And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
41) “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42) For I was hungry, and you gave me no food, I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink,
43) I was a stranger, and you did not welcome me, naked, and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison, and you did not visit me.’
44) Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’
45) Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’
46) And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (‭Matthew‬ ‭25‬:‭31-46‬ ESV).
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Introduction

— This is not really a parable except for the reference to goats and sheep. It really points to what will happen at the end of history. Our existence in time had a beginning, and it will have an end. In this story, Jesus is talking about the end of the world.
The story used by Jesus was known by the people of Israel. A shepherd would usually before nighttime separate the sheep from the goats because the goats would get cold easier than the sheep and the goats should be kept together to stay warm. The sheep didn’t need the warmth because of their wool.
— Also, the right hand was believed to be the place of power or favor in the ancient Near East. Also in the Bible, the righthand is designated as the place of favor or power. Psalm 118:15,16 states: “The voice of rejoicing and salvation Is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. The right hand of the LORD is exalted; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly” (Psalms‬ ‭118‬:‭15-16‬ NKJV).‬‬‬‬‬
— Psalm 16:11 says: “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalms‬ ‭16‬:‭11‬ NKJV).‬‬‬‬‬
After Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, He was seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven (Philippians 2:6-11; Ephesians 1:20-22).
— In this parable the sheep was placed on the favored side (the right-hand side) of God and the goats on the cursed side (the left-hand side). Sheep was also known to be clean animals because of their wool and because they were white. God’s people were also likened to sheep in the Old Testament. We see this in Psalm 23, 78, 100 and Ezekiel 34. Sheep are obedient animals in contrast to goats who are rebellious and obstinate.
— This parable is also a conclusion to the “being prepared” for the second coming of Jesus Christ. It follows Chapter 24,25 in Matthew and the parable of the wise and foolish virgins and the parable of the talents. This story demonstrates who will gain entrance into God’s eternal kingdom and those who will not. The story reveals to us who will be ready to meet the Bridegroom and those who will not. It reveals to us who have wasted their talents and those who have used their talents to glorify God.

1. Coming realities and truths revealed

a) Verse 31 refers to the Son of Man. The Son of Man will judge the living and the dead. Jesus is the Son of man. Way back in the book of Daniel 7:13,14 there is mention of the Son of Man and what He would do. Daniël the Prophet said: “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed” (‭Daniel‬ ‭7‬:‭13-14‬ NKJV). Jesus was familiar with this prophecy. Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is the Son of Man. Numerous times Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man in the Gospels. If we read the gospels, we would be familiar with this truth.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬
b) Jesus Christ will come again in glory with the angels at the consummation of all things. We know that Jesus is now in heaven acting as Mediator and High Priest between God and mankind.
c) When Jesus comes He will act as Judge and judge all nations and peoples and individuals who have ever lived, are now living and will live (verse 31,32).
d) God has prepared a kingdom before the foundation of the world for the blessed signifying the fact that they did not deserve the kingdom, but that God elected them for it (verse 34).
e) Some people (called the righteous) will be blessed and granted eternal life and receive the kingdom of God as an inheritance (Verse 34).
f) Some people will be cursed and suffer eternal punishment (Verse 46).
g) Hell has originally been prepared not for man, but for the devil and his angels (Verse 41).
h) Note that just as some will receive ETERNAL life others will suffer ETERNAL punishment in hell. No annihilation or extinction of a life will take place (Verse 46). As heaven is eternal just so hell will be eternal.

2. How judgment will be executed

A superficial reading will conclude that judgment by God will be based on works. Meaning that the more good works a person does, the better chance he/she will have to enter heaven. However, the Bible says that God will judge according to our works not based on our works (Romans 2:16; Revelation 20:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Entrance into heaven and the everlasting kingdom is not based on our works. We will look into this fact a little later.

— The sheep

— Jesus is known to be the Sheep’s Eternal Shepherd. In Psalm 23 David said: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…”. In John 10 Jesus said: “I am the Good Shepherd.” Jesus is the Great Shepherd of His sheep, and He knows His sheep. He calls them all out by name, and they follow Him. The sheep hear and know His voice (John 10:1-10).
— The Bible is clear (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 3:28) salvation is a gift from God, given by grace, that no one should boast.
— The sheep are not justified by acts of mercy but because of election and saving faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said: “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (‭John‬ ‭10‬:‭9‬ NKJV). The kingdom has been prepared for them before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-5). The acts of mercy are the evidence of union with Christ. Acts of mercy are the evidence of saving faith in Christ. James 2:17-20 says faith without works is dead. Saving faith is evidenced by good works. As Jesus taught: You will recognize people by the fruit they bear (Matthew 7:16-20). ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬
— The sheep are saved not the goats. Being a sheep signifies something dramatically happened to a person. He/she was born again, his/her nature has changed. And that change happened at the time when a person repented of their sins and trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. A good tree bears good fruit as Jesus said (Matthew 7:15-20). A bad tree bears bad fruit. A sheep is by nature a submissive and an obedient animal and so are Christians by nature obedient and submissive. They live to please their Master.
— Works of Mercy per se don’t save. Works of mercy done to other believers in Christ is the evidence of saving faith and that you are a sheep.
— Many unbelievers do works of mercy, but that doesn’t save them. Many people have their “Foundations”, their “charities”, their goodwill, but it isn’t for the glory of God or Christ, but for the glory of self. Many times it is to make a name for themselves.
— It is what believers have done to other believers that are important and signifies your unity with Christ. God identifies Himself with His people and how we treat the brethren demonstrates our love relationship with God.
— It is how we loved the brethren that counts if we are really Gods children. As Paul commanded us in Romans 12:12 “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Distribute to the necessity of the saints!”
— As Jesus said: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (verse 40). Note the reaction of the righteous after Jesus said these words. They were surprised by Jesus’ remarks. Why is that? It’s because the righteous were humble and didn’t count their acts of mercy. Their right hand didn’t know what their left hand was doing!

– The goats

— The goats refer to unbelievers. The goats refer to those who have mistreated Gods messengers and children. Goats, as we said earlier, are by nature obstinate, self-willed and rebellious. Rebellion and self-centeredness characterize unbelievers as well.
— Acts of Mercy per se won’t guarantee a place in heaven for you. It’s acts done to the glory of God, to the church of God, to the people of God in union with Christ that matters. Those who refused and rejected Christ and lived selfish lives resembles the goats. Those who hoarded possession and were loveless and selfish are likened to goats.
— But again, many unbelievers do many acts of charity. The Hindu’s and the Muslims feed the hungry and clothe the naked. So does the humanitarians with lots of money. But they do it to boast, to make a name for themselves. Their motivation is to exalt self not Christ!
— What the goats did not realize was that the way they behaved towards God’s children was the way they actually acted towards Him. The times they rejected and mistreated the Christians because of the message they gave they were actually rejecting and mistreating Him. Jesus said: “As far as you did it not to the least of these you did it not to Me” (Verse 45).
— The goats were primarily cursed because they failed to show mercy to Christians in affliction and persecution and because they didn’t accept the life-saving message of the Christians. 1 John 5:12 states: “He who has the Son has life, he who doesn’t have the Son does not have life.” It doesn’t matter how many poor people you feed and how many homeless people you take in, how many people you visit who are sick and in prison, without doing it in Christ, for Christ and in union with Christ those acts are worthless, filthy rags and as an unclean thing. Without personal union with Christ, your works are disposable and despicable works in the sight of God.
— Jesus is intimately identified with His own children. What we do to them, we do to Him. Jesus said: “Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ Jesus also said: “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me” (‭Matthew‬ ‭10‬:‭40‬ NKJV). And “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.” (‭Mark‬ ‭9‬:‭37‬ NKJV). ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬– In other words, if we reject the children of God and the gospel message they bring, we reject Jesus Himself.
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3. Deeper meaning of the “acts of mercy.”

— What Jesus is referring to are physical things in this passage. We don’t have to do great things in the kingdom of God. Feeding God’s people, showing hospitality, visiting God’s people, helping people in need and so on, should all be priorities in our lives. Jesus said “blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7).
— But there is a deeper meaning to these words. They refer to spiritual realities. “Feeding the hungry”; “giving drink to the thirsty”; “lodging the stranger”; “clothing the naked”; “visiting the sick and in prison” also refer to spiritual things. When Jesus commanded Peter to feed his sheep and lambs in John 21, after He rose from the dead, He was not primarily referring to giving his children food and providing meals to them every day.
— These words of Jesus refer to the preaching of God’s word. They refer to the encouraging, edifying and comforting of people with the word of God. They refer not only to preaching but sharing Gods word with people and pointing people to the only Savior, Jesus Christ.
— These words also refer to praying for people, carrying each other’s burdens and so fulfilling the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2; James 5:16). The Bible says that we must do good to all, especially to the household of faith (Galatians 6:10). What greater work can a person do to his brother than to pray for him?
— These words refer to helping the gospel go out and fulfilling the Great Commission. They refer to the promotion of the furtherance of the gospel so many people can come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ by various means.
— These words also refer to doing the will of God. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, “Not all who say: “Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of God, but He who does the will of God.” Jesus said in John 4:23 “this is my food: to do the will of God and to complete His work.” So this is also applicable to us. What is your food? To do the will of God? Are you consumed to do his will and to die for the fact that His will be established on the earth?
— These words refer to be being used as an instrument of righteousness, and as a means of grace so others can be “fed by Christ”; “clothed in His righteousness”; “drink from the Fountain of Living Water”; “Come into the household of God”; “be delivered from the prison of Satan and self” and “be healed from the sicknesses of sin”.
— Jesus is called the Bread of life in John 6:35. He is called the fountain of living water in John 4:11-14. He is called the Great Physician, healing the broken in heart. Jesus is the Great Deliverer from the bonds of Satan.
— We know that physical things like food and water and giving people a place to stay will not deliver them from hell and sin and the oppression of Satan. It is the “Bread of life” the “Fountain of living water” “the great Physician” the “great Deliverer” whom they need, Jesus Christ. Jesus alone can save from the wrath to come (John 3:36; Acts 4:12).
— So feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked, giving people a place to stay and visiting those in prison and who are sick should mainly refer to spiritual things although physical things could be included.
— In Acts 6 we read that the apostles refrained from doing physical acts of mercy and “serving the tables” and gave themselves primarily to prayer and the preaching of the word. They did this because they knew that what people mostly need is to be spiritually fed with the word of God and be built up in the faith. In the letter to the Ephesians Paul said what the goal of the Christian life is: “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (‭Ephesians‬ ‭4‬:‭13‬ ESV).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬
— Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 “man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
— In short evangelizing the multitudes, visiting and counseling and disciplining people to know Christ and to follow Christ is what God is after. He is the only one who can meet all our spiritual needs! Paul said in the letter to the Philippians: “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (‭Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭19‬ ESV).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬
— Should Christians then not do acts of mercy? Off course, they should! They should do all and not leave the other undone. They should not do it to gain entrance into heaven. They should not do it to be justified in God’s sight, but do it out of love for the Savior and from the realization that they have been united to Christ, by grace through the finished work of Christ. Only after they have this assurance that they belong to God should they endeavor and purpose to be witnesses for the King and to share the word of life and the word of truth and disciple the nations and seek out the lost for the glory of the King.
— Are you one of the sheep? Or are you one of the goats? Have you committed yourself to serve the children of God? Or are you despising the church of God in your heart? Have you rejected and mistreated the children of God, the Christians? Or have you been born again by the Spirit of God? No amount of good works can save you from the wrath of God! You need to be a sheep to do the acts of a sheep! You need to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ to enter heaven and be saved! You need Jesus Christ as your only Savior and Lord. Your sins need to be washed away by the blood of Jesus in order to do the good works that God has appointed for you! Ephesians 2:10 says: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for the good works He has appointed for us.”

Making your calling and election certain

Assurance

  • Making your calling and election sure

 

How to make your calling and election sure

The foundation, building blocks, and goal of our calling and election in Christ Jesus

1)“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

2) May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

3) His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

4) by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

5)For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,

6)and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,

7)and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

8)For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9)For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

10) Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

11)For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

(2 Peter 1:1-11 ESV)

Introduction

Why are some Christians unfruitful and barren? Why do some Christians not have assurance that they are saved? Why do some forget that they have been born again by the Spirit of God? Why do so many Christians struggle with doubts about their salvation and why do so many backslide into sin?

Well you may say maybe some Christians don’t have assurance because they were never Christians! It is true that there are people who profess to be Christians who are not (Matthew 7:21-23). There are imposters. Judas disciples. But there are also Christians who do not have assurance of salvation.

The reason this text gives why some Christians don’t have assurance of salvation is because many have not added to their faith: virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness and all the other graces. A true faith in Christ always results in good fruit. But some Christians become blind and shortsighted because they have thought the Christian life is plain sailing. They just coast through life. They think that there is no battle, no ground to conquer. Some people think that because God elects whom He wants to salvation there is no way we have any role to play in our salvation. Yes, salvation is by faith, it is a sovereign act of God, it is by grace, but we have to work with God in the process of justification and sanctification. We have to repent and believe and trust in God, although God initiates the process of salvation.

We can make our calling and election sure. We can confirm our salvation. We can have assurance of salvation. Assurance does not come by a dream or vision or some mystical fluffy feeling or a fleeting thought in your head, but by bearing good fruit as we obey God everyday in the details of our lives. The fruit of the Spirit in our lives produced by God gives us assurance that we are His very own people. But this fruit doesn’t come automatic in our lives. We have to work out our salvation as He works these things in us.

  • The foundation of our calling and election

 

His divine power has given us everything (all things) we need for life and godliness” (verse 3)

— The power of God in Christ Jesus is the foundation of our salvation (the supreme power of God). God is almighty. The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power (1 Corinthians 4:20). Jesus Christ is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:25). When people come out of the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light there is a power encounter taking place. God makes us aware of our sinful condition and alive to spiritual realities.

— His divine power has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness. Everything we need for salvation is available to us through His working. If we look at the history of the world and how God has acted in history we see the power of God on display (The exodus, creation, the resurrection of Christ, the miracles of Christ etc.) We see God’s power at work everyday in creation as He sustains the Universe: the sun, the hydraulic cycle, functioning of ecosystems, etc.

— Everything we need to live godly lives is available to the believer through the working and presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the power of God (Acts 1:8). The same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is at work in us who believe (Ephesians 1:17-20). Jesus drove out demons by the finger (power) of God. Because God is most powerful, and Almighty, the powers of sin and hell and death and Satan will not have the ultimate say in a believer’s life (Matthew 28:18).

— The knowledge of Christ Jesus (who God is in Christ Jesus)

“God has given us all things through the knowledge of Him who called us to His glory and virtue” What knowledge we may ask?

Jesus is God (verse 1). Jesus cannot save us unless He was God.

Jesus is Savior (verse 1). Jesus cannot save us unless he was truly man.

Jesus is Righteousness (verse 1) He has no sin, no moral imperfection. He is good and just and holy. He always says, thinks and acts righteously. Unless Jesus was without sin He could not save us.

Jesus is Lord (verse 2) He rules over all. He is sovereign (Matthew 28:18. Our salvation is based on our knowledge of God. Incorrect knowledge of God cannot save us. If we believe that Jesus is only a prophet or the Angel Gabriel or only a righteous person then we cannot be saved. Jesus, was and is the Godman, who sacrificed Himself for our sins, bore the wrath of God that we deserved so that we may have forgiveness of sins and eternal life. We must have accurate knowledge of God to save us! Jesus Chris is fully God, fully man, Our Savior, Lord and Righteousness.

— “Whereby He has given us the “Exceeding great and precious promises” (the word of God)

— We are born again by the word of God, by preaching, the hearing of faith (1 Peter 1:23-25; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; Romans 10:17).

““since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.” (1 Peter 1:23-25 ESV)

““For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” (1 Corinthians 1:21 ESV)

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching. So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:13-14, 17 ESV)

Are the promises of God precious to you?

Are the promises of God exceedingly great and wonderful to you?

Think about these promises! Romans 10:13; John 3:16; John 6:35

We have to hang on to, believe in and cling to the promises of God constantly, like a man holding onto a foefy slide (zipline) over a cliff filled with crocodiles. Unless you hold on you will be killed. Faith is a gift of God, but it requires our action, our holding on. The promises of God is the foundation of our faith.

–Saving faith is built on the power of God (God’s doing, God’s work) the knowledge of who God is (God’s being) and the Word of God, especially His promises. Without these three things nobody becomes born again and nobody escapes the lust and sinful desires and curruption in the world.

–There are curruption in the world. Things are growing worse. Because of the fall of man the world and humankind are under the curse of Adam and his disobedience. We are by birth headed for destruction. The sinful world is in the sway of the devil. And those who live for themselves and the world will become more corrupt and die in their sins without God.

— The result of the power of God, the knowledge of God and the promises of God should be: repentance and faith (becoming partakers of the divine nature) and escaping from the world through lust. If we repent of our sins and trust in Christ Jesus, in His person, His work, his power and his promises we will be saved!

Have you escaped the sinful desire and curruption in the world?

These three things are the foundation on which our spiritual life is built

“For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:9-15 ESV)

  • The building blocks of our calling and election (how to make your calling and election sure)

 

— “Add to faith with all diligence” (verse 5): although the foundation of our salvation rests in God, we must work with God, in God’s power to make our election and calling sure and certain. God calls and God elects whomever He wills. If we want to know that we are the elect of God then we have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. God works in our salvation and we work it out because God makes us willing and able to do His good pleasure (Phillipians 2:12,13).

The following things are the building blocks of your house. You build upon the foundation which is Christ, His power and work, His Person and His Word:

Virtue (moral excellence) courage, moral energy, moral vigor, diligence in work, cleanliness, generosity, goodness, chastity, purity, modesty, hospitality, sobriety, respect for authority, thankfulness.

Knowledge about God and His Word. This happens by studying the Bible, reading good Christian books and reading good commentaries about the Bible. By reading and meditating on God’s word we grow in our knowledge of God. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly!!!

Self-control: (a proper and limited use of all earthly enjoyments, keeping every sense under proper restraint, and never permitting the animal part to subjugate and rule the rational; Adam Clarke)

Steadfastness (perseverance) patience (Bearing all trials and difficulties with an even mind, enduring in all, and persevering through all. Love endures all things. Love bears all things.

Godliness Piety towards God; a deep, reverential, godly fear; not only worshipping God with every becoming outward act, but adoring, loving, and magnifying him in the heart: a disposition indispensably necessary to salvation, but exceedingly rare among professors.

Brotherly kindness and love (Matthew 25:31-46). Kindness. Generosity. Paul said in Galatians we must do good to all especially to the household of faith. Love of the brotherhood is the strongest attachment to Christ’s flock; feeling each as a member of your own body. The church is our eternal family. We should love our fellow brothers and sisters. We cannot separate ourselves from the children of God. We become strong in faith as we fellowship and care for each other. We are part of one body. The Bible says we must rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. We cannot isolate ourselves from other Christians and think we will be helped and grow spiritually.

Love – for all people. Do good to those who hate you and persecute you and insult you etc. Prayer for the world. To pray for the unreached, unconverted and unevangelized should be priorities in our lives. As some Christian leaders say, to tell people of how they can escape the corruption in the world and have eternal life is probably the most loving act you can do to another. Feeding people, helping them with tasks are all good and well, but that will not help them eternally. Knowing Jesus as their Saviour and Lord will help them eternally!

— result—If we build with these things we will be building on the foundation of our spiritual building with gold, silver and precious stone. We will not be barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (verse 8) (Matthew 7:15-20). Our works will be tested at judgement day and our building will stand. We will stand.

— result –“we will not be barren and unfruitful in our knowledge of our Savior, Jesus Christ” We will have an intimate relationship with God and know God better.

Christian, are these qualities in your life and are they increasing?

  • The danger of forgetting our calling and election (The danger of not working with God)

 

— You will become short sighted and blind (verse 9) Question? Blind about what? Blind about salvation. You cannot have a clear vision of God and your salvation, of your election, if you play with sin in your life, if these qualities are lacking in your life. Matthew 5:8 says: “blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

— If these qualities are not in your life then you are either not born of God or you have forgotten that you have been purged and cleansed from your former sins. Your sins become more real to you than God. The weight of your sins make you depressed.

— And the result is: no assurance of salvation, depression, distress, constant anxiety, and backsliding into more sin.

Cure: be diligent to make your calling and election sure!! How? Build your house on the foundation of God’s power, who God is in Christ Jesus and meditation of God’s promises in the gospel. By repentance and faith in God, His power, his Person, His promises, by working with God and adding to your faith these qualities: virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly love and love to all etc.

  • The goal of our calling and election

 

–Verse 10 says that if we do these things, or practice these qualities we will never fall. This verse doesn’t mean that if we practice these things we will never sin. It means that you will never fall out of God’s hand. Christians will never finally fall away from God. You may fall over in God’s hand but you will not fall out of his hand (See John 10:27-30).

— The goal of our calling and election is being given entrance into the everlasting kingdom of God, of Jesus Christ (verse 11).

— We see earlier that if we add to our faith these qualities it will not leave us unfruitful and barren in our knowledge of Christ Jesus. The goal of our calling and election is not just to get to heaven and escape hell. That should not be the controlling aim of a Christian. The controlling aim should be to be with Jesus Christ and to know more of his excellencies. Heaven wouldn’t be heaven if Christ is not there. The whole letter that Peter wrote repeats the phrase “the knowledge of our Lord Jesus.” This doesn’t only mean head knowledge but personal knowledge, experiential knowledge of salvation in Christ (Phil 3:7-9).

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