Archive for July, 2012

Suffering!

The standard that this world has set in being religious is such that, God’s pleasure is measured as per man’s feel good factor. The god of this world and its religions is nothing more that the appetites of men, where the stronger the appetite, the more powerful is the god.

What I would like to touch up on today is: suffering. Suffering is something every person goes through but it is the reason for which we suffer and how we take it in stride that actually reflects our relationship with God. Suffering is something God puts into our lives for good reason. We can suffer either as being punished for wrong or we can suffer for standing up for the right thing but the world has reached such a state that it is rare to see the reprobate suffering even as their punishment.

1 Peter 3:14, 17
But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,
For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

Suffering has a variety of uses in the will of God, it can be used to bring repentance (Rev 2:22) or it can be used to teach endurance (Rom 5:3). Suffering has been known to make people humble (2Ch 33:12). Either way suffering comes from God, like does everything else, which all meets His purpose.

2 Corinthians 12:7 (Apostle Paul)
Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me–to keep me from exalting myself!

If worshiping God, was measured by only how good we felt then one may come to wonder, how much of God is involved in that worship. Suffering on the other hand is a sacrifice seen in a servant who exalts a greater cause which is His Master over himself; a Master who well deserves this glory. This suffering is a form of worship but must not be mistaken for suffering that is self inflicted for such suffering does not bring the humility that God desires.

Rom 12:1
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

We know that even Christ suffered but He did so to fulfill scripture, to the glory of the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:48), for as the Son of God, He glorified His Father (Romans 6:4) and from His Father received glory (John 8:54) of being the firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:29), by being the first to be raised from the dead (Col 1:18). Though He was without sin, His perfection was through suffering and death, to the will of His Father.

Hebrews 2:10
For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.

Heb 2:10 beautifully shows the Oneness in the Triune God because it displays the extent of seamless harmony in the will of these Three Person of the Godhead (Father Eph 1:11; Son Mat 11:27; Holy Spirit 1Cor 12:11).

There are many people to whom God is nothing more than a state of bliss, to most of them God’s Sovereignty does not extend over sin and evil; and to tell people like these that God is Sovereign concerning all suffering too, is something that does not go down well with them. However observe these same people in a state of trial and notice how they temporarily come to grip the reality of God’s Sovereign hand behind all their woes. Apparently when the affliction passes, many a times, so does their realization, because this seed is soon picked off from the soil by the birds or trampled underfoot.

1Peter 4:19
19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

Philippians 1:29
For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,

From the scripture of Proverbs 17:3, the word for “test” is ‘baw-khan’ meaning: to make trial. So you see this forthcoming of Silver and Gold can only come from those in whom the Holy Spirit brings a circumcision of the heart.

Proverbs 17:3
The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts.

Romans 2:29
and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

So if you are suffering today, what you need to ask yourself is this:
Is this your call to repentance unto Christ?
-OR-
Is this for righteousness sake to the call of His glory?
-OR-
Is this Him imputing faith in your trial coming out as Gold?

Between God and man; a poem!

There are times man ponders on himself,
That had he not existed,
Would anything matter to himself?

So as he sees himself as the center in all he knows,
He thinks he himself is god,
And that’s the way the world goes,
Cause had he not existed, would anything matter to him so?

But how can that which comes to being be self existent?
Or how that which grows be Omnipotent?
Can that which is learning say it knows all things?
When as life goes on, it the unknown brings.

Satan was probably first who sought to be God,
Until he was smitten by Jesse’s Rod,
God is a Jealous God and tolerates no rivals,
And even the spirit of the anti-Christ serves His purpose in denial,
As all things are created to meet a certain purpose of His,
Which even Satan fulfills, in as much betrayal as in Judas’ kiss.

Man can never become God though God became man,
For as long as man is learning or growing, become God, he never can.
But when man is convinced he knows all,
What awaits this god is only downfall.

In Christ, the fullness of His eternal Father dwelled,
But as a man His meekness meant His head never swelled.
He dealt harshly with hypocritical power,
And to the bruised reed He was their Strong tower.

So fellow man, if it’s you and not Christ around whom you center,
Then the fire you shall inherit shall strike faster that magenta.

The Five Solas

“Sola” is Latin meaning “alone” or “only”. The Five Solas are the Latin slogans that emerged from the Reformation with the intention to summarize basic theological principles to distinguish the teaching of the Believing Church from the Humanist teachings that weighed down the Church of that day.

The 5 Solas with their scripture references are as follows:

1. Sola Fide, by faith alone.

Romans 3:28-31
For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

James 2:17
So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

What is faith? It is the very essence of belief, when a person says he has faith in something, it refers to his trust in that same thing. Faith in God is trusting in Him and when you truly believe in something, it shows in the way you go about your life and so says James 2:17. Faith is God given (Romans 12:3) and not all have it because God is Sovereign to the extent that if He does not give something in particular to the person, that person will not even have the desire for that particular thing. Salvation through faith simply means that you know what God has done for you, which He may not have done for many others and so He lets you know and it is because He lets know that you are given the power to believe. So it is through your faith alone that He tells you that you are saved.

2. Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.

Gal 3:8
And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

Gal 3:22
But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Heb 4:12
The word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of the heart.

2Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

From the scripture of Gal 3, you will notice scripture being spoken of like a person. John 1 and Mat 1:18-20, shows the work of the Spirit, in Christ taking Human form. From Numbers 11:25 we see also that Moses too had the indwelling of the Holy Spirit implying that it was the Holy Spirit in Moses who worked as mediator between God and the Israelites in Exodus 32. Heb 4:12 says that the word of God is alive that is, His Spirit is alive and is God. When the Bible says that faith comes from hearing, it refers to listening to His Spirit. This Spirit Sovereignly works in the whole world but speaks intimately only to the Church, the people called to believe from different tribes and nations.

Many of you will not agree with I am going to say now but I am convinced this is true. The word of God in the Bible is the Holy Spirit given to the Church. The early Church in the first two centuries did not have the Bible as we know it today and so the Spirit edified the Church through the gift of tongues and prophesies with interpretations (1Cor 14:26) but that was a time when the Word of God was not as yet compiled into the Bible. From the time the Church complied all it had received into the Bible, the revelations in tongues or prophesies have ceased for nothing can be added (Rev 22:18-19) nor taken away (Ecc 3:14) from the revelation of the Word, God has given His people in the Bible. Sola Scriptura!

3. Sola Gratia, by grace alone.

Eph 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

2Timothy 1:9
who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

Romans 3:23-24
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

According to “The Economist”, the whole world is in debt, with the third world countries in lesser debt, such as Kenya with a public debt of nearly $ 15 billion (as of June 2012); while developed countries like the US have a public debt of nearly $ 9 trillion (as of June 2012). So the question is, where is all the money in the world going, if everyone is in debt?

Why don’t you give grace a thought, or does the world expect to pay off God in circumstances, where they not only don’t have money but are well over their heads in debt. Why???? Because the world is living off His grace and doesn’t even know it. The reason man can never pay the price of his Salvation is because all that he is and calls his own is not really his but belongs to God, everything a man has, is borrowed, given by the grace of God. Man is held accountable even if he takes his own life because even his own life does not belong to him but belongs to God and this is spoken of beautifully in Psalms 49.

You can therefore come to the conclusion that ‘borrowing man’ can never merit Salvation, be it by prayer, fasting, holy places, charity or whatever. Man goes to heaven seeing only the goodness of God’s grace and not admiring his own delusional merit.

4. Solus Christus, through Christ alone.

Have you heard of the term “Christophany”, these were the manifestation of Christ in the Old Testament. Since the revelation of the invisible God has only been made known through Christ (John 1:18), in the Old Testament the manifestations of Christ were referred to sometimes as the Angel of God and varied in some other in places. I’ll give you two or three that even bears reference to His Deity.

Christ’ Manifestation in the flaming bush; Exodus 3: 2, 4, 6. It is written, the Angel of the Lord that appeared as a flame of fire in the bush, spoke from the bush as the Lord.

The Manifestation of Christ as three people, Abraham bows to them (Gen 18:2-3) and refers to them as Lord. While one remains with Abraham and two of them go to Sodom and Gomorrah, yet the one says that He (Lord) will go down to Sodom and Gomorrah.

The Manifestation of Christ, as the man who wrestles Jacob in Gen 32:24-30 and the words of Jacob in verse 30 are “”For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”

Through Christ alone, says that Salvation was worked out by the Only Being who is worthy before God and that is God Himself viz. Jesus Christ. Worthy ONLY is the Lamb (Rev 5:11-14).

1Corinthians 8:6
yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

Col 1:13-20
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

1Timothy 2:5
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

5. Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.

Psalms 115:1
To you alone, O LORD, to you alone, and not to us, must glory be given because of your constant love and faithfulness.

Isaiah 42:8
“I alone am the LORD your God. No other god may share my glory; I will not let idols share my praise.

Isaiah 48:11
What I do is done for my own sake— I will not let my name be dishonored or let anyone else share the glory that should be mine and mine alone.”

Romans 16:27
To the only God, who alone is all-wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever! Amen.

Finally God (Father, Son and Spirit) shares His glory with no other. There is no being as perfect as God and if God were to allow any other being: be it the angles, seraphim or the prophets, who are all imperfect in His sight, to even share His glory, then God would not be truthful and faithful but God loves His own perfection as He delights in Himself (Jeremiah 9:24).

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