Archive for January, 2011

Matthew 15:21-28

Hello people, how are you? I write today on an extract from what was preached in Church. The scripture is from Matthew 15:21-28.

Matthew 15:21-28
21 Jesus left that place and went off to the territory near the cities of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman who lived in that region came to him. “Son of David!” she cried out. “Have mercy on me, sir! My daughter has a demon and is in a terrible condition.”
23 But Jesus did not say a word to her. His disciples came to him and begged him, “Send her away! She is following us and making all this noise!”
24 Then Jesus replied, “I have been sent only to the lost sheep of the people of Israel.”
25 At this the woman came and fell at his feet. “Help me, sir!” she said.
26 Jesus answered, “It isn’t right to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”
27 “That’s true, sir,” she answered; “but even the dogs eat the leftovers that fall from their masters’ table.”
28 So Jesus answered her, “You are a woman of great faith! What you want will be done for you.” And at that very moment her daughter was healed.

The above scripture may disturb some people because here Jesus is approached by a woman in desperation and here she appears to be spoken to harshly. To give you some background on this scripture, I would like to say that things then were heating up in Israel and there were certain leaders scheming to trap Jesus & Jesus left Israel for sometime as per His Father’s will. Let us go back to the Old Testament to see what God said about the fate intended for Tyre, Sidon and the surrounding regions.

Joel 3:4-8
4 “What are you trying to do to me, Tyre, Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you trying to pay me back for something? If you are, I will quickly pay you back! 5 You have taken my silver and gold and carried my rich treasures into your temples. 6 You have taken the people of Judah and Jerusalem far from their own country and sold them to the Greeks. 7 Now I am going to bring them out of the places to which you have sold them. I will do to you what you have done to them. 8 I will let your sons and daughters be sold to the people of Judah; they will sell them to the far-off Sabeans. I, the Lord, have spoken.

So you can see God’s plan for the people of Tyre, Sidon and the surrounding regions was that of a reaction to their own actions. Needless to say, their children would suffer. Jesus’ word in Matthew 15:24 is not that He was meant to save only Israel but rather sticking to scripture, prophetically that God sent His Son to a people He chose & called His own. Yes I do also have scripture to back me saying that in Jesus, His death and faith in Him made Salvation available to even Gentiles (non-Jews; rest of the world).

Acts 26:23
that the Messiah must suffer and be the first one to rise from death, to announce the light of salvation to the Jews and to the Gentiles.”

Galatians 3:8-13
8 The scripture predicted that God would put the Gentiles right with himself through faith. And so the scripture announced the Good News to Abraham: “Through you God will bless the whole human race.” 9 Abraham believed and was blessed; so all who believe are blessed as he was.

13 But by becoming a curse for us Christ has redeemed us from the curse that the Law brings; for the scripture says, “Anyone who is hanged on a tree is under God’s curse.” 14 Christ did this in order that the blessing which God promised to Abraham might be given to the Gentiles by means of Christ Jesus, so that through faith we might receive the Spirit promised by God.

Colossians 2:13-14
13 You were at one time spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were Gentiles without the Law. But God has now brought you to life with Christ. God forgave us all our sins; 14 he cancelled the unfavourable record of our debts with its binding rules and did away with it completely by nailing it to the cross.

You may come to understand that it was the time of the death of Christ and after that salvation was made available to the Gentiles (Col 2:13-14).The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 8:6 that there is a right time and right way for everything of which we know little. When Jesus was approached by His mother, to help with the shortage of wine mentioned in John 2:1-12; Jesus helped by turning water to wine but he did say that it was not yet His time to work miracles in His ministry. So in the same way, the right time for salvation to be declared to the woman in Matthew 15:21-28 would be the time of the cross and after.

Ecclesiastes 8:6
6 There is a right time and a right way to do everything, but we know so little!

We must know that God being God, always stands by what he says and Jesus’ reaction to the woman is because of what He spoke through the prophet Joel in the fifth or fourth century BC about Tyre Sidon and the surrounding regions. However the Bible also says that God is love, let’s read this scripture and also read about what exactly is this love.

1 John 4:8-11
8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 And God showed his love for us by sending his only Son into the world, so that we might have life through him. 10 This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven.
11 Dear friends, if this is how God loved us, then we should love one another.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; 5 love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; 6 love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. 7 Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.

Despite this woman’s fate was sealed (Joel 3:4-8), as her daughter was enslaved to the demon that tormented her. Jesus being a God of love chose to save this woman, who acknowledged Him as the Messiah (Matthew 15:22 – Son of David), Master (Matthew 15:27) and God (Matthew 15:25). The Bible says that Jesus does not turn away anyone who comes to Him, even if the person was condemned, for these are they the Father has drawn to His Son to be saved.

John 6:37-44
37 Everyone whom my Father gives me will come to me. I will never turn away anyone who comes to me, 38 because I have come down from heaven to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And it is the will of him who sent me that I should not lose any of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them all to life on the last day. 40 For what my Father wants is that all who see the Son and believe in him should have eternal life. And I will raise them to life on the last day.”
41 The people started grumbling about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 So they said, “This man is Jesus son of Joseph, isn’t he? We know his father and mother. How, then, does he now say he came down from heaven?”
43 Jesus answered, “Stop grumbling among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him to me; and I will raise him to life on the last day.

As the Bible says, faith in Jesus comes from hearing God (Romans 10:17); it is a gift that draws us strongly to Jesus, which saves us from damnation (Romans 4:16-17). In the scripture of Matthew 15, this woman had heard of Jesus (Romans 10:18) and from what she heard she had great faith. Nothing could beat her down, she stood strong in the fact that Jesus alone could save the situation, the faith that God gave her was so strong that she did not have to wait till the time of cross to honour Jesus as people honoured God the Father during her time (John5:23), so she and her household were saved & like Abraham her faith was credited to her as righteousness (Romans 4:22-25).

Romans 10:17-18
17 So then, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message comes through preaching Christ.
18 But I ask: is it true that they did not hear the message? Of course they did — for as the scripture says:
“The sound of their voice went out to all the world;
their words reached the ends of the earth.”

Romans 4:16-17, 22-25
And so the promise was based on faith, in order that the promise should be guaranteed as God’s free gift to all of Abraham’s descendants — not just to those who obey the Law, but also to those who believe as Abraham did. For Abraham is the spiritual father of us all; 17 as the scripture says, “I have made you father of many nations.” So the promise is good in the sight of God, in whom Abraham believed — the God who brings the dead to life and whose command brings into being what did not exist.
….
22 That is why Abraham, through faith, “was accepted as righteous by God”. 23 The words “he was accepted as righteous” were not written for him alone. 24 They were written also for us who are to be accepted as righteous, who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from death. 25 Because of our sins he was handed over to die, and he was raised to life in order to put us right with God.

John 5:23
23 so that all will honour the Son in the same way as they honour the Father. Whoever does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him.

An extract from Hosea

Hello people, how are you doing today? Hope all is turning out well for you, this I ask for you in Almighty Jesus name. Well I don’t have Grace Encounters 2, 3, 4 today for you; I am still to procure it. I still however have something interesting for you from my Bible reading time. As you may have noticed, am writing has turned lesser now as I am now being tutored music and a good amount of my time is going in picking this up, as I want to diversify my writing ability and go into song writing too.

What makes the Bible unique among religious books is that God spoke through the prophets, His Spirit possessed them and what came through the mouths of the prophets or from their Biblical writing was directly from God. There were no in-betweens (angels or whatever) God used the prophets as mediums but never as in-betweens. We know this because when God spoke through the prophets He spoke in the first person, you may consider the scripture below; about God in the Bible: you will never find something like “he does not beget, nor is he begotten”, In the Bible God declares his identity in the first person “I” never in the third “he”. Can there ever be any creation (angel, man or soul) capable of declaring “who is God?” or “ what He can or cannot do?”? God uses mediums but He still speaks for Himself in the first person, it is the weak who have need for a mouthpiece but never the great and there is nothing greater than God, & so God spoke in the first person even through His prophets because this Biblical God is Omnipresent. Let us read Hosea 11:9 from the Old Testament, which is one of numerous scripture of God revealing His identity.

Lets read Hosea 11:9
I will not execute my burning anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and not a man,
the Holy One in your midst,
and I will not come in wrath.

If you were to think from a strictly monotheist point of view of the above scripture then you are taking what you want from the scripture and not exactly all that you are given. Allow me to show you God declaring His Tri-union Identity here.

Consider from the above scripture “for I am God and not a man” this was written by the prophet Hosea before the coming of Jesus as man, it however refers to ‘God the Father’, for the above two statement talk of “will” and Biblically everything that happens is as per the Father’s will because He is the Dude with all the plans and He alone knows their timing (Mark 13:32), meaning all that happens through all creation happens either because He will it or allows it for the greater good of His people.

Mark 13:32
“No one knows, however, when that day or hour will come — neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son; only the Father knows.

Coming back to Hosea 11:9 “the Holy One in your midst”; refers to ‘God the Holy Spirit’ for He is God’s presence among His people.

Psalms 51:11 (from the Psalms of king David)
Do not banish me from your presence; do not take your holy spirit away from me.

Finally coming to the last part of Hosea 11:9 “and I will not come in wrath.”; refers to the ‘God the Son’ taking support of John 3:17.

John 3:17
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

To strengthen my stand showing you the references made in Hosea declaring Jesus clearly as God, I would like to quote Hosea 13:4 & Hosea 14:8.

Hosea 13:4
4 But I am the Lord your God
from the land of Egypt;
you know no God but me,
and besides me there is no savior.

Let us cross study Hosea 13:4 with Matthew 2.

Matthew 2:13:15 (Jesus as a child)
13 After they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, “Herod will be looking for the child in order to kill him. So get up, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you to leave.”
14 Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left during the night for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until Herod died. This was done to make what the Lord had said through the prophet come true, “I called my Son out of Egypt.”

Matthew 2:15 refers to Hosea 11:1

Hosea 11:1
When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.

So you see the Son who the Father called out of Egypt (Mat 2:15 // Hos 11:1) was Jesus the Lord God of Israel (Hos 13:4)

Now let’s check Hosea 14:8
8 The people of Israel will have nothing more to do with idols;
I will answer their prayers and take care of them;
Like an evergreen tree I will shelter them;
I am the source of all their blessings.”

Allow me to show you line by line through Hosea 14:8 unraveling who is Jesus. Line 1: It is important to note here that idols mentioned above are not merely crafted gods but what we hold on to more dearly than God, holding on to anything other than God was just as intolerable in the Old Testament (Isaiah 31:1) as it is was in the New Testament. Here is what Jesus said in Mark 10:29 about where people’s priorities should be.

Mark 10:29-30
29 “Yes,” Jesus said to them, “and I tell you that anyone who leaves home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and for the gospel, 30 will receive much more in this present age. He will receive a hundred times more houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields — and persecutions as well; and in the age to come he will receive eternal life.

Mark 10:29, is a reflection of the very first commandments in Exodus 20:3, you shall put nothing before the Lord your God. As for line 2 of Hosea 14:8: here below is scripture showing elders falling before Jesus (Biblically referred to as the Lamb of God) and with the prayers of God’s people, whom He has answered making them prosper.

Revelations 5:7-10
7 The Lamb went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who sits on the throne. 8 As he did so, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each had a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. 9 They sang a new song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to break open its seals.
For you were killed, and by your sacrificial death you bought for God
people from every tribe, language, nation, and race.
10 You have made them a kingdom of priests to serve our God,
and they shall rule on earth.”

Line 3 & 4: Read Galatians 3:13-14
13 But by becoming a curse for us Christ has redeemed us from the curse that the Law brings; for the scripture says, “Anyone who is hanged on a tree is under God’s curse.” 14 Christ did this in order that the blessing which God promised to Abraham might be given to the Gentiles by means of Christ Jesus, so that through faith we might receive the Spirit promised by God.

The Bible says that the Law brought with it death for it made known what sin was, where there was no Law people were not held accountable to sin (Rom 5:13) because it was only through the Law right was made known from wrong.

Romans 5:13, 21
There was sin in the world before the Law was given; but where there is no law, no account is kept of sins.
..
21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Law is like a reflection of the ‘fruit of the tree of knowledge of right and wrong’, which Adam and Eve ate in disobedience in the God’s Garden (Eden). The reason Adam and Eve were not allowed to then eat the fruit of the tree of life after their disobedience is because the tree of life symbolized eternal life in union with God but sin (Adams disobedience) and God are like oil water and so until God worked out a solution for sin, there was no way God and man would reunite and stay that way eternally. The fruit of the tree of knowledge or right and wrong like the Law; brought into the picture sin leading to death. This fruit was different from the fruit of the ‘tree on life’ in the same Garden. In Jesus, His death made freely available to us all the fruit of the tree of life, which became His blood shed on the cross for the forgiveness of sin (Eph 1:7).This took the outcome of sin made known by the Law/tree of knowledge of right and wrong, which was judgment leading to death. Just as the fruit of the tree of knowledge of right and wrong did not possess the key to eternal life, in the same way Law’s purpose was never Salvation but just to give man the idea of right from wrong. So the evergreen tree mentioned in Line 3, is the cross, which sheltered God’s people from death, blessing them with eternal life in union with God (Romans 5:21), the source of all things.

Eph 1:7
7 For by the blood of Christ we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. How great is the grace of God,

So that concludes this article writing from the book of Hosea of the Old Testament; showing you that the all powerful God of all creation is individually the Father, Son and Holy Spirit working in unison as One God. Allow me to put a fitting conclusion to this extract from the book of Hosea. I shall use the same conclusion as the book of Hosea.

Hosea 14:9
9 May those who are wise understand what is written here, and may they take it to heart. The Lord’s ways are right, and righteous people live by following them, but sinners stumble and fall because they ignore them.

Grace Encounter – 2

Hello people I write again today, this time I write majorly from extracts of a video lecture from a Bible college that one of my brothers is currently attending. The lecture is a four part series and this post is Part-2 of “Grace Encounter for a New Beginning”. To make this post more engaging I will be speaking on behalf of the lecturer but as the first person.

Firstly, it is not possible to grasp the Gospel of Jesus Christ without understanding the Judgment of God & It is not possible to understand the Judgment of God without understanding the finished work of Jesus Christ; all these my friend go hand in hand. Let us read John 3:16-17.

John 3:16-17
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

You know if you are reading this & you have something telling you that there is something about Jesus, which you allures you beyond fathom then you have a calling my friend. Let us get back; if we understand verse 17 in John 3 then we understand the basic concept of the grace of God in the Gospel. Believing in Jesus entails that you know that God is not out to get you, if he wanted to get you then he would have got you a long time ago. You are not at all hard to find.

To grasp the Gospel of Jesus, you need to think out of the box of religious indoctrination. We must understand that in Jesus we are free from all impending Judgment. Let us go through John 5:21.

John 5:21-22
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,

From the verse 21 we can see what the Father can do the Son can too. Verse 22 requires you think from away from a religious perspective, it says that just as the Father judges no one in the same way (acting like the Father from verse 21 & taking support from John 3:17) the Son too judges no one but the Judgment referred to in verse 22 refers to the Judgment/Punishment of world that was focused entirely upon the Son of God. The reason I ask you not to think religiously is because a religious view is deceptive as its view of God is that of someone always out to get you and make you do what you do out of fear of punishment. A religious view of verse 22 will lead you to think that: Ok the Father will get me but he has now left that to Jesus.

Moving to verse 23 of John 5 (below) we see that the reason the Father focused all Judgment upon the Son was so that all creation may honour Jesus as much as they honour the Father & moving to verse 24 you can confirm the idea that he who believes in Jesus does not come up for Judgment.

John 5:23-24
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. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

John 9:39
39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”

From John 9:39, we see that Jesus came into the world for the Judgment of all creation was upon Him. It is in Jesus that belief is separated from unbelief, He is like a lightening rod that saves believers from the wrath of God, it is in trusting Jesus that people have peace.

Let’s read John 12:27-31.

John 12:27-31 (before Jesus’ death)
27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.

From verses 28-30, you can see that it was that the whole thing of Jesus coming into the world was so that man could be saved but a religious perspective does not even make even the voice of God coherent. Jesus did not need to hear that voice, He knew His mission, He knew the predestined plan before creation even began. Verse 31 answers your question in verse 27 as to what was the “hour” for which Jesus came into the world. Jesus’ death was actually the hour of Judgment of the world. The Judgment of God was not when 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, the Judgment of God was not when the Tsunami killed hundreds of thousands in Asia, the Judgment of God has never been when catastrophe hit the world but the Judgment of the world was when Jesus endured death on the cross & it was then 2000 years ago that Satan (ruler of the world) was cast out, i.e. from that day Satan has no access or accusation against you before God. If you notice verse 32 below you will notice it starts with a conjunction ‘And’ that means there is more to complete the statement of verse 31 of John 12 mentioned above. Looking closely at verse 32, you will notice that the word “peoples” is in italics, indicating that that word was not present in the original scripture, it was added by the translators to make the scriptures readable as the translators could not fathom what was the “all” to be understood from that scripture, so they added the word “peoples” to it.

John 12:32 (NKJV)
32And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”

Reading verses 31-33 of John 12 as originally intended, we have.

John 12:31-33
31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all (Judgment) to Myself.” 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.

In the light of the above, this infers that man will not be judged for sins committed but if man chooses the path of unbelief or that of rejecting Jesus or if man chooses to be religious with the “compulsory” praying, fasting & other rituals then in these he will be outside canopy of saving belief in Jesus and will bear the wrath of God for his own sin.

We see God unmerited favour (grace) in this act of sacrifice that we are put right with God in believing in Jesus. This grace however does not mean you are free to sin. Freedom is only freedom when you are free and you are only free when you trust in Jesus & it is when you trust in Jesus that your ‘want to s” change radically. A preacher who preaches grace does not worry about keeping people in line when it is faith that leaves it to God to keep people in line.

Let’s read James 1:12-15:
12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

From verse 13 we can see, we can see that when you go through a trial, it is a blessing to know that your hardship does not come from God but from the decisions you have made in your life based on your lustful desires. Yes desires are God given but it is what you do with them that make it sinful. The desires He gives you are to be fulfilled as per His plan not by submitting to your weakness. If your desire is sex then God’s solution is marriage. If your desire is to be prosperous then the solution is tithes, study & work, business etc. It is in moving away from God’s plan that we mess up. When your lustful desire is conceived in your own power, then that gives birth to sin and one fine day that reaps it wages: death & then unlike whatever you may have been told and taught, God is not responsible for that condition you are in but he is still there caring for you and waiting that you may come to terms with His solution for your sin: Jesus; that He pull you out of that mess. Do you know that in Genesis 3:21, God being Good beyond anyone can come to terms with, provided Adam an Eve with clothes, for their sin of disobedience brought forth their nakedness & God showed His unmerited favour (grace) to them by providing for them even when they sinned against Him.

Many oppose the Gospel being gracious with the Acts 5 scripture; allow me to show you that.

Acts 5:1-10
1 But there was a man named Ananias, who with his wife Sapphira sold some property that belonged to them. 2 But with his wife’s agreement he kept part of the money for himself and handed the rest over to the apostles. 3 Peter said to him, “Ananias, why did you let Satan take control of you and make you lie to the Holy Spirit by keeping part of the money you received for the property? 4 Before you sold the property, it belonged to you; and after you sold it, the money was yours. Why, then, did you decide to do such a thing? You have not lied to human beings — you have lied to God!” 5 As soon as Ananias heard this, he fell down dead; and all who heard about it were terrified. 6 The young men came in, wrapped up his body, carried him out, and buried him.
7 About three hours later his wife, not knowing what had happened, came in. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, was this the full amount you and your husband received for your property?”
“Yes,” she answered, “the full amount.”
9 So Peter said to her, “Why did you and your husband decide to put the Lord’s Spirit to the test? The men who buried your husband are now at the door, and they will carry you out too!” 10 At once she fell down at his feet and died. The young men came in and saw that she was dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.

Verses 3, 4 & 9, are not words of condemnation but words of foreknowledge that was then gifted to the Apostle Peter by the Holy Spirit, the Bible clearly says in Matthew 12:32 that speaking against the Spirit is as much sinful as rejecting Jesus as Lord and Master (Jude 1:4). Ananias and Sapphira did not die because God killed them but because what Peter spoke was radically different from what they thought the outcome would be. It may interest you to know that in Africa, many people fall dead on the spot when they hear that a witch doctor has worked a curse on them. God did not kill Ananias and Sapphira as much as He did not kill Judas Iscariot, it was their guilt, a guilt that condemned themselves beyond they could not bear, a guilt that was so heavy that it cost them their own lives. Sin does not make God kill you but takes you away from the source of life which is God (Isaiah 59:2).

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