How you can Benefit the Church

Group

When God saves His people, He does not leave them in isolation. Rather, He places them into the body of Christ and they are to participate with the other members. The members of the church are not all the same. God has designed the church in such a way that it consists of people from different backgrounds, ages and personalities. This beautiful reality is seen in where the focus is on spiritual gifts. John Murray summarises this passage by saying, Continue reading How you can Benefit the Church

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

What is the Will of God? Principle 3: Service

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The principle of service is simply the response to what one learns in Scripture. If you desire to discern the will of God in a particular situation (and the Bible has nothing specific to say about it), you need to know God, be acquainted with the mind of God by studying Scripture and now you need to be a person who is applying what Scripture says. This means, you are to make it your duty and delight to serve God and His people as He instructs you in His Word. This is His will for you.

Broadly speaking, all of the Scripture contains God’s will for your life. What I mean by that is, if Scripture states what God’s intention is for you as His child, that is your duty. When it comes to God’s stipulated will in Scripture, there are some verses that state in the clearest of terms what God’s will for you is. When it comes to these commands, it is your opportunity and obligation to faithfully serve the Lord in this way. What are these specific verses? Here are a few specific examples of how you can serve by doing God’s will: Spirit filled (); submission (); sanctification () and thankfulness (). It is this last example that leads us to our next principle, namely supplication. But we will consider this in the next post.

18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,

13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;

18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

How is your Love for other Christians?

Love

The apostle John said, “Beloved, let us love one another” (a). How are you doing with that? Do you have a great love for other believers? According to this verse, it is God’s will that you love one another. In other words, if you are not committed to and caring for one another, the reality is you are going against the will of God. Have a look again at this verse, “Beloved, let us love one another“. How straightforward, the command is that you love. This is the exact same love God granted to His people. Have a look at , “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him“. John is saying that God showed this love toward us when He sent His Son into the world. How was it shown? The One true and eternal God, who consists of three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is perfectly sufficient in Himself. He had chosen to create this world, and the people He created rebelled against Him by sinning. Before the foundation of the world, God had chosen some to be saved (). But the only way in which those individuals could be saved was if the Lord Jesus Christ would come into this world and die in their place as a sacrifice for sin. This is exactly what happened. God the Father sent His only begotten Son into this world. He came into the world taking upon Himself a human nature. He was born, grew up, lived a perfect life, and was ridiculed by many. But at the end of His ministry, He was condemned to the cross. At the cross He died a death for all who would ever believe in Him. It was a horrible death. Physically, He was abused, persecuted, ridiculed. It was a humiliating experience. Worse than the physical horror, God the Father poured out His wrath toward every sin that was laid upon the Lord Jesus Christ – though He never sinned. The question is, why did the Lord Jesus Christ go through all that? Because God loves His people, He “shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (). God proved His love by sending His Son Jesus Christ into this world.

So when John says, “Beloved, let us love one another“, we are to do this with the same love God showed us. Clearly, this is talking about a huge kind of commitment to each other. This is not suggesting that you go and pat someone on the back and say, “Hey! I love ya” and then you walk off and never talk to them again. It is not enough to shake someone’s hand once a week and limit that isolated act to showing love. These things are not wrong, but if you limit your acts of love to those things, that is not going to cut it. God did not save us by patting us on the back or by shaking our hands or becoming a friend on facebook. He provided a sacrifice for us in His Son.

We could never truly love to the same level as God does. But we can draw an important principle: We can show love by sacrificing for others. This means, in relationships sacrifice some of your own preferences. You may be in a conversation with someone and you both have different opinions. Do you always have to share your opinion? That is a very small sacrifice to make when compared to what God has done for us. That is only one example. I am sure you could list a lot of things that we could sacrifice in our lives because we love them. Is it time you need to sacrifice? Money? Or even sacrificing opportunities in which you speak with someone you get along with so as to speak to someone you wouldn’t normally talk too.

There are lots of ways that we can show sacrifice. Don’t lose sight of the simple command to “love one another“. This is simple yet it is hard because it demands commitment. In fact, it involves a level of commitment that shows more loyalty to those who are Christians. That doesn’t mean we are to hate or dislike unbelievers, but what it means is that you will show a particular kind of love to those who are of the household of faith. This kind of loyalty sends out a message to those who aren’t saved. Jesus said,

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” ().

That is how people will know you are the people of God.

How do you look out for other believers? Are you committed to each other? Do you make sacrifices for one another? I am encouraged when I see other believers show this kind of love. When a visitor arrives for the first time at church, what a joy to see individuals make an effort to talk to them and get to know them. That is not an easy thing to do and I thank the Lord that many are showing an interest and a love for other believers. I also appreciate the way I see examples of believers showing love to each other. They support and stick up for each other. Some sacrifice many of their plans because they desire to help others out. Let us never become settled in thinking that we are OK or have arrived. Let us strive to go further and further in our love to one another.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Paul’s Purpose Statement

Purpose

The purpose statement of the apostle Paul’s ministry can be found in ,

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me“.

The ultimate goal of his ministry is to, “present everyone mature in Christ“. The means in which he would accomplish this purpose was to proclaim Christ (cf. ). This indicates the central theme of what he preached. He was not interested in promoting himself, or in announcing some new system of thought. Paul’s chief concern was to publicly “proclaim” the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul carried out this proclamation of Christ in two ways, “warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom“. Warning and teaching need to go hand in hand. One without the other is not useful and can lead to error in the Christian life. Warning without teaching can lead to a form of legalism, whereas teaching without warning can lead to fruitless Christianity.

If the gospel minister is going to fulfill all found in , he is going to need power. In Paul reveals the power for ministry from both the human and the Divine side. The word “toil” means “to work to the point of weariness”. Many people are attracted to the ministry because they think that it is going to be easy. You can start whenever you want and the hours are great. Such a view of the ministry was foreign to Paul. Unlike many lazy pastors, he laboured in his serving. Paul not only worked to the point of weariness, he also struggled. This is an athletic term (the word “agonize” is derived from it). Ministry for Paul was hard work. He devoted himself to it with great seriousness and faithfulness.

Even though Paul put his all into the ministry, if that was the only enabling factor his ministry would be a waste of time. The ultimate enabling power for the minister is the Lord. Paul says that he laboured and strived, “with all his energy that he powerfully works within me“. Paul’s philosophy of ministry ought to be the same for all pastors. By God’s help, it ought to be their goal to labour in the gospel in proclaiming Christ with the view of seeing His people become mature in Christ. Determined in duty and dependant on God for help.

28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

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The Conduct of the Kingdom’s Citizens

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After being introduced to the character of the Kingdom’s citizens in , we now are shown the conduct of the Kingdom’s citizens. The beatitudes are not intended to be lovely qualities privately held or discussed among believers – they are to be lived out in a corrupt and dark society. contains the body of the Sermon on the Mount. In this first section (5:13-48) the particular attention in on the believer’s conduct in relation to the law of God. 

Jesus is the Fulfillment of the Law 5:17-20

The reference to the “Law” and “Prophets” is another way of describing the OT Scriptures. The teaching of Jesus does not replace or “abolish” this, but rather fulfills them. This fulfillment occurred because they foreshadowed Him, described Him and prophesied concerning Him (5:17). Jesus went on to affirm the authority and permanence of the OT Scriptures (5:18-19). He concludes by speaking of a kind of “righteousness” that “exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees” in order to enter the Kingdom (5:20). In what way could one’s righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees? In , in contrast to the religious leaders who merely externalized righteous behaviour, Jesus provides six examples where obedience to God’s law begins on the inside and is then manifested externally. These six examples provide a correct understanding and application of God’s law. Each of these examples begins with “You have heard that it was said” (vv. 21, 27, 31, 33, 38, 43). Here Jesus is correcting the wrong interpretation of the Scripture that limited the application.

Murder and Anger 5:21-26

Murder is prohibited by the 6th commandment (; Duet. 5:17). However, many limit their understanding to the external act. Jesus reveals that at the root, this law is prohibiting an attitude of anger and hatred, which can lead to the act of murder. In place of anger and hatred, Jesus teaches the importance and urgency of reconciliation (5:23-26)

Adultery and Lust 5:27-30

By quoting the 7th commandment (; Duet. 5:18), Jesus reveals that the prohibition like the previous command is not limited to the external act. Jesus goes right to the heart of the problem when it comes to adultery. This wicked act is sourced in lustful intent that takes place in the heart (5:28). Jesus provides the remedy of radical spiritual surgery (5:29-30).

Divorce and Remarriage 5:31-32

“God hates divorce” (), yet due to man’s rebellion God provided a process in which divorce could be regulated, thus providing protection of the woman being divorced. Sadly, people were getting divorced for trivial and unscriptural reasons. Jesus reveals the devastation of getting divorced on unbiblical grounds (5:32). Later on in this gospel (19:3-9), Jesus offers further teaching on this topic.

Oaths and Truth 5:33-37

In this example of obedience, Jesus discusses the matter of being truthful. In Jesus’ day, the religious leaders had constructed a way in which one could make an oath and be truth or be deceitful. Jesus made it clear that citizens of His kingdom don’t need an oath to be believed; their “yes” or “no” ought to be sufficient.

Retaliation and Restraint 5:38-42

So as to uphold justice, the Lord provided laws that allowed for limited retaliation in civil cases – the lex talionis. Despite the fact that the purpose of this law was to restrain and regulate retaliation, people abused it. Getting to heart of the matter Jesus says, don’t retaliate to insults with insults (5:39), hold loosely earthly things (5:40), go beyond our call of duty (5:41), and give to genuine needs (5:42).

Enemies and Love 5:43-48

The religious leaders had provided a distorted application the straightforward command, “You shall love your neighbor” () by saying, “hate your enemy”. Jesus demolished this distortion by teaching that one’s neighbor includes their enemy (5:44). He provides the example of God’s common grace in which He “sends rain on the just and the unjust” (5:45).

Jesus concludes this section by calling His people to emulate the perfections of the Father by rightly adhering to God’s Word (5:48).

5:1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

23 You shall not make gods of silver to be with me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

16 “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Implications of the Deity of Christ

Jesus is God

When it comes to the identity of Jesus there have been much debate and controversy throughout history. Even at the time of His earthly ministry there were many views and suggestions concerning who He was (). Debates have raged throughout the centuries and even today people continue to hold to various understandings and views. Who is Jesus Christ? The Scriptures make plain that He is the eternal Son of God (; ; ; ). Last Sunday morning at Hills Bible Church, in our exposition of the Gospel according to John, we considered . In that passage we noted the Lord’s unmistakable claim that He is Divine.

Knowing then that this is the clear teaching of Scripture, what are the implications of Jesus Christ being God? Whatever Jesus says He came to do is indeed true and is therefore necessary for us to embrace.

He is the Sufficient Saviour
In preparation for the eternal Son of God’s arrival on earth, the angle of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said concerning Mary, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (). Here it is made clear, Jesus is going to be a Saviour. This truth is again repeated soon after Jesus was born when an angel declared to the shepherds, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (). Jesus Himself understood that this is who He was and why he was on earth (). Since He is the Sufficienct Saviour, He alone is able to make the exclusive means of salvation when He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me” ().

He is Worthy of Worship
In the Scriptures, the concept of worship carries the idea of serving God by means of an attitude of fear and adoration. What is worship? Worship for the believer is the act of recognizing God’s worth and responding to that in service to Him. Worship is to be exclusively offered unto the Lord (Exodus 20:3; Deut. 5:7; 6:13; Matt. 4:10; Luke 4:8; Acts 10:26; 14:15; Col. 2:18; Rev. 19:10; 22:8). Because Jesus is God He is worthy of our adoration. It is the duty and delight of God’s people to love Christ () and faithfully follow Him. Concerning Jesus Christ we read,

“God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” ().

The day is coming when all will worship Him. However, for some this will be as a result of God’s saving grace in which it is their delight. However, for others it will be a duty that comes by means of their final submission to the Lord despite the fact that they are under eternal condemnation.

Jesus is God and this has serious implications. By God’s grace, embrace these implications and give the glory to the Lord!

14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 20:28

28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,

13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.

21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Christ first, Family second, Church third – Really?

 

priorities

 

Christian, what  place does the Lord Jesus Christ have in your life? Many have given a common answer indicating the order of priority, “Christ is first” and then they add, “my family is second, and the church is third”. Now I understand what most people mean they say that, but I want to make an important point. For the Christian, Christ is to be first, second, third and so on. What do I mean by this? Continue reading Christ first, Family second, Church third – Really?

A Man of God

The Man of God2

The title “man of God” occurs 68 times in the Old Testament (LXX) and twice in the NT ( and ). This particular designation has a rich Old Testament heritage. It was used to describe Moses (; ; ), Samuel (), David (), Elijah (), Elisha (), the angel of God () and other prophets (). A man of God is a special possession of God. He is not to be driven by the love of money, but is compelled to be loyal to his Lord. With such privilege comes great responsibility and consequences to disobedience (cf. ). Continue reading A Man of God

11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.

17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

33:1 This is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the people of Israel before his death.

90:1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.

Then the people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God in Kadesh-barnea concerning you and me.

But he said to him, “Behold, there is a man of God in this city, and he is a man who is held in honor; all that he says comes true. So now let us go there. Perhaps he can tell us the way we should go.”

24 And the chiefs of the Levites: Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brothers who stood opposite them, to praise and to give thanks, according to the commandment of David the man of God, watch by watch.

18 And she said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!”

1 Kings 17:24

24 And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.”

She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”

Then the woman came and told her husband, “A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name,

13:1 And behold, a man of God came out of Judah by the word of the Lord to Bethel. Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make offerings.

13:1 And behold, a man of God came out of Judah by the word of the Lord to Bethel. Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make offerings. And the man cried against the altar by the word of the Lord and said, “O altar, altar, thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name, and he shall sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who make offerings on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.’” And he gave a sign the same day, saying, “This is the sign that the Lord has spoken: ‘Behold, the altar shall be torn down, and the ashes that are on it shall be poured out.’” And when the king heard the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar at Bethel, Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, “Seize him.” And his hand, which he stretched out against him, dried up, so that he could not draw it back to himself. The altar also was torn down, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign that the man of God had given by the word of the Lord. And the king said to the man of God, “Entreat now the favor of the Lord your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored to me.” And the man of God entreated the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored to him and became as it was before. And the king said to the man of God, “Come home with me, and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.” And the man of God said to the king, “If you give me half your house, I will not go in with you. And I will not eat bread or drink water in this place, for so was it commanded me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘You shall neither eat bread nor drink water nor return by the way that you came.’” 10 So he went another way and did not return by the way that he came to Bethel.

11 Now an old prophet lived in Bethel. And his sons came and told him all that the man of God had done that day in Bethel. They also told to their father the words that he had spoken to the king. 12 And their father said to them, “Which way did he go?” And his sons showed him the way that the man of God who came from Judah had gone. 13 And he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him and he mounted it. 14 And he went after the man of God and found him sitting under an oak. And he said to him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” And he said, “I am.” 15 Then he said to him, “Come home with me and eat bread.” 16 And he said, “I may not return with you, or go in with you, neither will I eat bread nor drink water with you in this place, 17 for it was said to me by the word of the Lord, ‘You shall neither eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by the way that you came.’” 18 And he said to him, “I also am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water.’” But he lied to him. 19 So he went back with him and ate bread in his house and drank water.

20 And as they sat at the table, the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back. 21 And he cried to the man of God who came from Judah, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have disobeyed the word of the Lord and have not kept the command that the Lord your God commanded you, 22 but have come back and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which he said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water,” your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’” 23 And after he had eaten bread and drunk, he saddled the donkey for the prophet whom he had brought back. 24 And as he went away a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his body was thrown in the road, and the donkey stood beside it; the lion also stood beside the body. 25 And behold, men passed by and saw the body thrown in the road and the lion standing by the body. And they came and told it in the city where the old prophet lived.

26 And when the prophet who had brought him back from the way heard of it, he said, “It is the man of God who disobeyed the word of the Lord; therefore the Lord has given him to the lion, which has torn him and killed him, according to the word that the Lord spoke to him.” 27 And he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” And they saddled it. 28 And he went and found his body thrown in the road, and the donkey and the lion standing beside the body. The lion had not eaten the body or torn the donkey. 29 And the prophet took up the body of the man of God and laid it on the donkey and brought it back to the city to mourn and to bury him. 30 And he laid the body in his own grave. And they mourned over him, saying, “Alas, my brother!” 31 And after he had buried him, he said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in the grave in which the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones. 32 For the saying that he called out by the word of the Lord against the altar in Bethel and against all the houses of the high places that are in the cities of Samaria shall surely come to pass.”

33 After this thing Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way, but made priests for the high places again from among all the people. Any who would, he ordained to be priests of the high places. 34 And this thing became sin to the house of Jeroboam, so as to cut it off and to destroy it from the face of the earth.

Do you Serve in Ministry?

ServeWhen is comes to serving the Lord in ministry, this is a concept that many have got wrong. Many are asked, “Are you serving in the church?” or “Do you have a ministry?” Usually, the person asking this question is looking for an answer like, “sure, I’m in the music team” or “yeah, I’m an usher”. Granted, these are valuable and important ministry opportunities in the church, however ministry extends much further than these public roles.

It is true, that if you are a Christian you ought to be serving in ministry. However, that ministry does not have to be a public role or one listed in the church bulletin. You don’t need to go Bible College or seminary and you don’t even need a title. All you need to do is serve. Someone may ask, “What is my ministry?” Well, if you are doing what the Lord has commanded you to do, you are in the ministry. It might not be a formal ministry task or the function of a church officer, but it is still ministry. You may be a mother, and you love and nurture your children – that is one of your ministries. You may be committed to praying for the members of your church – that is one of your ministries. The point I want to make is that if Continue reading Do you Serve in Ministry?