Archive for June, 2011

A Revelation of God

Hello people, I write after quite a break again but with a message, an extract from last Sunday’s word. Let’s take a look at Mark 8:27-30.

Mark 8:27-30
27 Then Jesus and his disciples went away to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Tell me, who do people say I am?”
28 “Some say that you are John the Baptist,” they answered; “others say that you are Elijah, while others say that you are one of the prophets.”
29 “What about you?” he asked them. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”
30 Then Jesus ordered them, “Do not tell anyone about me.”

From the above passage we see that even during Jesus’ time people were not clear on who Jesus really is, we see here that words that identify Jesus merely as a prophet no matter how great or small, leave Jesus unfazed because they are coming from people who don’t know Him. Let us first dwell on the word “Messiah” and what it means in it entirety. Messiah means: anointed, anointed one. You will notice it is anointed one and not anointed ones, there is no plural. The reason Jesus asks His disciples not to tell anyone at that time, is because he did not want to jeopardize until completion of His Father mission of Salvation by Jesus sacrifice for the Jewish people and the world. Messiah also has Biblical reference to the following below.

a) of the Messiah, Messianic prince
b) of the king of Israel
c) of the high priest of Israel

Coming back, let us see what acknowledgement of Jesus, comes from The Father, which is pleasing to God.

Matthew 16:13-20
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.

The Son of Man reference to Jesus above shows the humility of the Son God and this is declared in the book of Philippians in the New Testament.

Philippians 2:5-7
..Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

Hebrew 2:9-10
9 But we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, so that through God’s grace he should die for everyone. We see him now crowned with glory and honour because of the death he suffered. 10 It was only right that God, who creates and preserves all things, should make Jesus perfect through suffering, in order to bring many children to share his glory. For Jesus is the one who leads them to salvation.

You can see in Mat 16:16-17 that knowing Jesus personally as one who has been consecrated to save you (Jesus mean Jehovah saves and Christ means Messiah i.e. anointed one) and who has the power of God is divine knowledge and this comes only from God to God’s people, even the desire to know Jesus comes from the Father, I’d rather say the Father draws His people to His Son to be saved (John 6:44).

John 6:44
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.

From Mat 16:18 I’d like to tell you that from this knowledge the Apostle Simon gets the name Peter which means rock, meaning not a stone which is small enough to throw but a rock big enough to be the foundation of something. Now we must understand that just as a book is not worth it without its content, in the same way Simon was called Peter because of the revelation he had of Jesus and it was this revelation that made salvation as secure and unshakeable as a rock, a rock which would be a revelation of Jesus in the life of every Christian that would ensure the believers salvation even if he stood at the mouth/gates of hell/hades. A revelation which would be the believers key to heaven, where the lives a believer would transform would be saved and those who a believer may loose heaven may loose. You therefore see that knowing Messiah Jesus in the likeness of God (Son is like His Father) is the key to Salvation not only for you but to also those who interact with you.

Let us see Matthew 16:21-23
21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

We see from the above that accepting Jesus for who He is, is also to accept His death on the cross for you and this is also part of the divine revelation of Jesus, which stands against many theories out there in the world that deny His death on the cross. The divine revelation however has advanced so much that they already at the gates (false theories) of Satan’s house and in Jesus the revelation says to these gates/false theories, get behind me, you are a hindrance .

Just as taking pictures does not make you a photographer, in the same way, having a spiritual following does not make you a prophet. Biblically, prophets were under the influence of the Holy Spirit through which they saw the plight of the people and so also the destruction coming and warned the people of the same, when disaster would strike and even after things had reduced to rubble, the prophets would see Israel build her self up. A prophet’s job was looking out and never ownership over God’s people, I say this because a prophet would purely translate what God’s intentions for His people were and he’d never have his own set of recommendations or rules for people because no one can add to God for He does not leave anything out. Biblically prophets were known as watchmen for God’s people (Micah 7:4).

Micah 7:4
Even the best and most honest of them are as worthless as weeds. The day has come when God will punish the people, as he warned them through their watchmen, the prophets. Now they are in confusion.

Jesus is different here, He is doing more that just looking out, He has a mission, a mission to rescue God’s people from sin, and just as the Old Testament prophets put pen to material to keep record of the works of an unrevealed God (Psalms 77:14,15,20) , in the same way the followers of Jesus in the New Testament, put pen to material to keep record of God’s works revealed in the Father Son and Spirit (Colossians 1:20).

Psalms 77:14, 15, 20 (Old Testament)
14 You are the God who works miracles;
you showed your might among the nations.
15 By your power you saved your people,
the descendants of Jacob and of Joseph.
..
20 You led your people like a shepherd,
with Moses and Aaron in charge.

Romans 8:7-11 (New Testament)
7 And so people become enemies of God when they are controlled by their human nature; for they do not obey God’s law, and in fact they cannot obey it. 8 Those who obey their human nature cannot please God.
9 But you do not live as your human nature tells you to; instead, you live as the Spirit tells you to — if, in fact, God’s Spirit lives in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ lives in you, the Spirit is life for you because you have been put right with God, even though your bodies are going to die because of sin. 11 If the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from death, lives in you, then he who raised Christ from death will also give life to your mortal bodies by the presence of his Spirit in you.

I’d like to also stress on the goodness and uniqueness of God. To stress on this, I’d like to quote.

Matthew 20:25-28
25 So Jesus called them all together and said, “You know that the rulers of the heathen have power over them, and the leaders have complete authority. 26 This, however, is not the way it shall be among you. If one of you wants to be great, he must be the servant of the rest; 27 and if one of you wants to be first, he must be your slave — 28 like the Son of Man, who did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life to redeem many people.”

Jesus here is actually declaring His humility in verse 27 and 28, He says if one of you wants to be first, “He” must be your slave, here Jesus is making reference to Himself, the Bible says Jesus even being the Son of God is not ashamed to call Christians His brothers (Heb 2:11) so you see here that even though He is our God, He considers Himself as one among us – Son of Man. This should not be misunderstood as Jesus wanting to be a slave because He wants to be first but the understanding is that Jesus was slave because He was already first from time immemorial. For this reason he washed His disciple’s feet (John 13:3-9) and it is in this He made reference that the least in the kingdom of heaven was greater than the greatest man of God or prophet John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11) that ever lived. As per the above Scripture Jesus referring to Himself as the least in the kingdom of God implied His greatness was like that of His Father in heaven (John 5:19-23).

Heb 2:11
11 He purifies people from their sins, and both he and those who are made pure all have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his family.

John 13:3-9
3 Jesus knew that the Father had given him complete power; he knew that he had come from God and was going to God. 4 So he rose from the table, took off his outer garment, and tied a towel round his waist. 5 Then he poured some water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel round his waist. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Are you going to wash my feet, Lord?”
7 Jesus answered him, “You do not understand now what I am doing, but you will understand later.”
8 Peter declared, “Never at any time will you wash my feet!”
“If I do not wash your feet,” Jesus answered, “you will no longer be my disciple.”
9 Simon Peter answered, “Lord, do not wash only my feet, then! Wash my hands and head, too!”

Matthew 11:11
11 I assure you that John the Baptist is greater than anyone who has ever lived. But the one who is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than John.

John 5:21-23
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.

Note: Judgment given by God to His Son in John 5:21, is in reference that God’s judgment for all people’s sin was all upon Jesus on the cross and this is the way Jesus came to serve (not be served) and give His life as a ransom for many (Mat 20:28 above) and this revelation makes man honour God the Son as much as he honours the God the Father.

Cheers!

Grace Encounters – 4

Hello people, here is the last part of the series by Arthur Manchez: Grace Encounters for a new beginning.

Let us go through the benefits of this learning: it is for people, people crushed with unmet expectations, those who are struggling with emotional failure, regret, depression, condemnation, shame, those who are deeply hurt by rejection from the religious establishment, those who feel who have done their best and have come short, those who feel they are beyond help. Grace Encounters will change your life forever, change your expectations, deliver you from bondages, addictions, change your relationships, and change your dreams and visions for the future. There are a lot of people that struggle with their expectations for the future because of a certain belief system they have. You know, we today have access to so much good teaching but very few people can translate that into their lives and bring it to a place when it works for them in everyday life, this is the heartache for so many of us today. The belief people hold in their hearts is expressed through what they say and still many people in the world today are still looking for a secret that will unlock their lives, a secret something like a key, which may go looking from one seminar in one place to another in a different place. This search for this key or missing link becomes more of an experience rather than the learning of what is taught. You see, we all look for a place where what we hear is made worth while and works in our lives, even in areas of attraction but this secret what we are looking for; Jesus gave it to us as a free gift and so many of us struggle to get this operating because what Jesus gave us miraculously for free, we as people try to pay for it. What God gives us free of charge you can’t pay for it because if your try to pay for it then you can’t have it. If you try to earn it, you can’t have it because what God gives for free will always be something that is beyond your grasp.

Here is what we need to understand because you are not attracted to that which you desire in your life, you are attracted to only which you’re your believe your are . In the Church we have tremendous teachings of faith to live by and God has designed us to live by faith. Much of the teaching of faith is that God has promised us all these wonderful realities of life that make life worth while and our understanding of faith is if I can have faith for it then I can have it but the problem is the faith that attracts to you to that which your desire in life, is not a faith of attracting the desires of your life, it is you will only attract to you that which your believe your are, powerful! So you see unless you believe who you are and who God has promised to make you to be only at that point you can attract that which he promised for you. You see we have never really convinced ourselves in our hearts of our true identity in Christ and because of that we try to acquire something which our hearts tell us we are not qualified for. So as we grasp for it, it moves farther away. Do you know what am talking about, you see the truth and promises but every time we grasp for it, it moves further away because if that is the state your belief system is in then anytime you try to focus on that which is promised to them who are the righteous, you don’t attract but you push away. It is not a question of attracting the promises you just have to believe that you are worthy to have them; Amen.

Matthew 3:1
1 Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying,2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

John the Baptist was the fore runner for Jesus, the kingdom of heaven i.e. the kingdom of God is something, we Christian believers are all connected to, to some degree or the other.

Colossians 1:13
13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,

In the time of Jesus and John the Baptist the popular belief about the kingdom of heaven / God was that the Messiah would come and He would set up the kingdom to God as a physical kingdom. So the people expected that they would reign as kings over the world in the kingdom of God. In the midst of this John the Baptist however comes and preaches to the people “repent for the kingdom of God is at hand, making the way straight for Jesus.

Matthew 4:12-17
12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee;13 and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali.14 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:
15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles–
16 “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light,
And those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death,
Upon them a Light dawned.”
17 From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Mark 1:14-15
14 Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God,15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

The Gospel – means Good News of the kingdom of God. As you may understand Good News is not bad news so every time somebody preaches if it is not Good News then it is not Gospel. Now I needn’t tell you this but when Good News is delivered to you, you feel good. Understand that up until Jesus came nobody that ever heard anyone preach Good News, they had heard a lot of preaching but it was the Law, never Good News, it never made them feel good because all the Law could do was condemn. From Romans 3:19, for when the Law speaketh, it makes every man guilty. So any preaching that makes you feel guilty makes what you have heard: Law, you surely have not heard the Gospel, no matter how well it’s disguised, the preacher may claim to preach the Word but He is not preaching the Gospel (Good News).

Coming back when Jesus came preaching the Gospel, the reaction sometimes to the Good News of grace, mercy and covenant of peace was rejected as people were not accustomed to such preaching and may said that it could not true because they never heard any thing that good. Too Good to be true that is Gospel, As the Grace Encounter Series Arthur Manchez says if it is too Good to be true then it must be Gospel. Therefore Jesus was preaching and saying that the time is fulfilled and kingdom of God is at hand, so repent and believe the Gospel. Let me now introduce you to the meaning of the words as per the place where they are spoken in. Now if the word “judgment” was spoken in religious institution, people there then would associate it with hells fire and burning brimstone but the same word “judgment” spoken in a court room would refer to, that the jury or judge has now come to decision. In the same way the word repent is not about seeing yourself as a wretch and feel sorry for your sins, the word “repent” is about having a change of mind, change what you think and refocus your belief of life.

So what Jesus was saying was this, change the way you think and refocus your pursuit of life. So like the people of those days we need to change our belief system of thinking. Over all the years religion has always tried to make the kingdom of God a physical kingdom here on earth, there are some great teachings out there in the world but some of them are just not right.

Let us turn to Matthew 11:12
12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.

We see right from the days of old, violent men are trying to forcefully establish the kingdom of God on earth, doing whatever it takes. Jesus here is not saying that this is what the kingdom of God is about but He says that is what people are making the kingdom of God to be about. We have had the dark ages, and times when people went out in the name of God and killed many people in trying to establish the kingdom of God as a physical kingdom.

Some often talk about an over night prayer time where we would bombard the gates of heaven as though they were closed to us and God was trying to keep us out. Our mentality still tries to violently seize what Jesus has given us for free. We become God chasers as though God was running from us. From the time Jesus died on the cross, the heavens have been opened and not closed ever since; Amen.

Matthew 11:7-11
7 As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?8 But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces!9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet.10 This is the one about whom it is written,
‘Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’
11 Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

John the Baptist was even greater that any prophet that ever lived, but you see here that you as a believer in Jesus may be the least in the kingdom of God but even then you are greater that John the Baptist and so even greater than any prophet that ever lived.

Jesus asks us to repent: change the way we think, for the kingdom of God is not an outward kingdom for you to observe it. It is an inward kingdom within you, each and every one of us. So where ever you are there the kingdom she is. Well you may say that the place you minister is harsh but the Bible says to you as a believer in Jesus wherever you go, the Kingdom of God there it is.

As Paul says the kingdom of God is not eat and drink but is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Paul says that the kingdom of God is not about eat and drink referring to the Law because it is not about what your do or do not do but it is about righteousness, peace and joy in the Spirit. Jesus says that the kingdom of God in within you. Putting these two together we see that the kingdom of God is not about what you do or eat, it is a state of being.

Now as said earlier you are not going to attract what you want in life but you will only be attracted to that which you believe you are. See the Kingdom of God is realm which is far superior and in this anything is possible but it is not an outward kingdom but an inward kingdom. Jesus says repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. Now the term at hand may to you mean among you but it rightfully means it is approaching you. You are being approached by the kingdom, so change your thinking of trying to acquire the kingdom for the kingdom has come to acquire you. The kingdom of God is come not for you pursue but it has come to acquire you and all you have to do is: accept. Talk about turning dead ends into a new beginning!

If you are seeking the Lord then stand still and accept the Good News. You are not a God chaser, God is a man chaser! The story of the Gospel is while man wanted to have nothing to do with God, God came chasing after man and brought the kingdom which is righteousness, a state of being made righteousness which produces peace. You can’t pray for peace but peace comes when you believe you are the righteousness of God. So the kingdom of God is where a man/woman is made aware of being made right with God in mind, heart, consciously and subconsciously. Let me give you Arthur’s definition of righteousness: Is where everything that is true of the man Jesus, who is seated at His Father’s right hand, is also true about you and that is what it means to be righteous.

1John 4:17
17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.

Is God angry with Jesus? No! so He is not angry with you. Will God ever be angry or disappointed with Jesus? No! So too he will not be angry or disappointed you. As said earlier this is the Gospel, too Good to be true.

Romans 5:15-17
15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

We see from the above that God’s free gift is not to be compared to the trespass because His grace is out of proportion to the fall of man. We at times make the fall of man to be so big that God’s grace is just enough for us to have peace and be made right with Him. But truly speaking if you were to liken the fall of man to a 6 inch diameter faucet with water gushing out with force then the grace of God will liken to not a faucet but to something like the Niagara falls, something totally out of proportion. If many died through one mans falling / lapse then much more profusely did God’s grace through Jesus abound and overflow for everyone.

Note:
Verse 16: The free gift cannot to be compared to the effect of Adams sin
Verse 17: This is for those who “receive” this gift.

I Fergus would like to add saying, religions in the world uphold what is unholy in their sight to be higher than what is holy in their sight, let me give you an example, consider a sacrifice made to a god (one or many) then if say pig’s blood is splashed over the animal which is sacrificed, then will those religious people who have offered that sacrifice still consider the sacrifice as holy? I certainly doubt so because their god can be driven away even from what is offered to him by something as harmless as pig’s blood. To any religious person what is unholy will always far out weigh what is holy but this case is completely opposite in the case concerning the Gospel and that is why Jesus says repent: Change the way you think.

Back to Arthur and he to say repent: change your mind, for it is not up to you to pursue the kingdom, the kingdom is come to pursue you. What is required is that you receive and “reign as kings in life”, remember you do not attract to you and you are not attracted to what you want in life but you will attract to you what you believe you are i.e. kings, as believers in Jesus in the kingdom of God. Even you who may be the least in the kingdom of God, you are greater than the greatest (John the Baptist) who pursued the kingdom of God because you have become a receiver of a free gift/proposition, so the question is will you accept? God bless you’ all, Jesus loves you.

Sending you love from Arthur Manchez,
Fergus

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