Posts from the ‘Who is Jesus?’ Category

An Approach to Prayer!

In this day and age, the ignorance of God is great all over the world. It is said that the Westminster Smaller Catechism was taught to Sunday school children during the days of the Protestant Reformation but today it is taught to adults in Seminary. I have so often heard people say that God is not hearing their prayer, which to me sounds like “we are asking but God is not giving us what we want”. Very often I feel people discreetly fear saying “God willing”, it’s as though people are insecure of submitting their lives to the will of God. The truth is, all our lives are subject to the will of God but it is our faith in Christ that establishes our eternal security in God, who is good.

James 4
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.”
14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”

Though many may claim to believe in God and Jesus Christ (Jn14:1), the very fact that they are insecure of God’s Sovereign will over their own lives, dictating every event, says that these do not truly trust/believe in God. The consequences of unbelief is death but faith is a gift of God; having said that, faith is not measure of how strongly you expect what you ask for from God, rather faith is measure of whether you trust God enough to surrender your life to Him in any particular situation, while your heart seeks the Lord Jesus to sustain you through that fiery trial, as He did with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Dan3:8-18). For such is the will of God in sanctifying His people into His image, which was tarnished in the fall of Adam.

Romans 8
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

The problem with people who pray fruitlessly is that true religion has no bearing in their lives (James1:26-27), they are unrepentant in their dealings with their neighbour out of covetousness, adultery, thievery, bearing false witness or murder. The only reason they are capable of this is because God is not first in their lives. These people have simply put themselves first, such is the natural implication from the fall of Adam. Take a look at the Ten Commandments (Ex20:3-17) where the first four commandments are man’s moral duty unto God, while the next six are man’s moral duty unto his neighbour. The Satanic counterfeit of these commandments from the fall of Adam is therefore where the individual’s first onus is unto himself, which then influences his relationship with his neighbour from vested self-interest. Such a person, in truth does not believe God exists and that is how he/she goes about their lives. Hence it is that people’s prayer are not answered because such petitions are made from absolute unbelief and for most times bear the audacity of testing the Lord God Almighty (Mat4:7).

Matthew 22
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
37 And He said to him, ” ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
38 “This is the great and foremost commandment.
39 “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’
40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Imagine if you were to walk into the Office of the Commissioner of Police, what would be your demeanour. I have often heard of Charismatics who have said that they have fought with God in prayer over their life’s circumstances and what comes to my mind are the Israelites who grumbled and murmured against Moses and God, wanting to go back to Egypt and slavery. If we are truly born from above and believe in Jesus Christ (Jn3:3,16), then we ought to realize the price Jesus paid, that we may have access to the throne of grace with confidence (2Cor5:21) in prayer unto the God Almighty in all His Majesty and Holiness. This confidence in prayer we have is in knowing that whatever particular situation we are in, is what God has set for us in that time from His Omniscience and Omnipotence, such is the faith He requires of the believer in prayer.

Hebrews 4
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

If you believe you don’t have such faith, then you ought to consistently seek the Lord Jesus in prayer and ask him to bless you with such a saving faith (Jn6:37). It is very important when you pray that you honestly acknowledge your own moral disposition before God (Luke18:9-14), do not leverage the good person you consider yourself to be, as the reason for which God should hear your prayer because your self-righteousness before God is no better than being clothed in rags before his Majesty (Is64:6). Yes, God does hear the prayer of the righteous, a righteousness which is defined in God not of those who are righteous in their own eyes (Is5:20-23).

1Peter3
10 For,
“Whoever would love life
    and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
    and their lips from deceitful speech.
11 They must turn from evil and do good;
    they must seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
    and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

The above once seemed absolutely impossible to me but God blessed me with the desire to seek the Lord Jesus in my trials and the impossible became possible (Lk18:27), thanks be to God. If you have such a calling from God then such a capacity will be given to you too in the Lord Jesus Christ because the demeanour of your heart unto God matters most when you prayer. Now let us take a look at the manner in which Jesus taught us to pray.

Mat 6
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

One of the privileges of the Christian is that he bears the name of God (1Pet4:14) and is conformed each day into the image (moral character) of God. So when we pray to God, who is in heaven, we must ask God to help us lead holy lives in being conformed to his image, for such is the will of God that we ought to be holy as He is holy (1Pet1:15-16). It is very important that our prayer fall in line with His will for us because in prayer when we ask, it’s important that we ask from the right motive (James4:2-3).

When we say “thy kingdom come”, we are praying for God’s righteousness to reign in on the earth through the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom5:17-21), who propitiates the sins of men from self-righteousness unto the righteousness of God (1Jn2:2). You see it is not that God’s will is not done on earth, it’s just that unlike in heaven, here on earth people either glorify God’s mercy offered in Jesus Christ or they glorify His justice from unbelief (Jn3:18), while in heaven God’s will is carried out holistically unto God’s good pleasure but here on earth God doesn’t delight in the punishment of wicked (Ezek18:23).

In asking God for our daily bread, we acknowledge God’s providence in our lives that it is he who sustains us, despite being sinners by nature and poor stewards over this world, which we are to subdue in Christ. Such is the forgiveness we have from God in Jesus Christ, for our sins were imputed to Him who had no sin and His righteous was credited to us in our helpless/sinful estate (2Cor5:21). Hence we are a new creation in Christ (2Cor5:17), forgiving those who have sinned against us because we realize the immense debt God forgave us of from no deserving nature of our own, for such is the grace of God in the Salvation He offers us in Jesus Christ.

Romans 1
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.

In asking God not to lead us into temptation, we are asking God to safeguard us from our fallen nature from Adam that we may humbly acknowledge the truth about ourselves as sinners before God Almighty, and in doing so is our spiritual prostration aka repentance. For in the Lord Jesus is our Salvation (Mat1:21), for all things are of God and from God, for His own glory (Col1:16-20), such is the might of God (Phil4:13).

On studying the “Our Father”, which is what this payer is often called, we realize what Jesus is teaching here is not merely some words to be learned by rote but He is also schooling us on a moral and spiritual mind-set from which we are to pray because the worshipers the Lord seeks are those who worship in Spirit and Truth (Jn4:23-24).

John 15 (Jesus says)
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

To conclude unlike the gamut of religions out there in the world which requires the individual to follow a whole lot of ritualistically outward religiosity for such is their scheme of prayer, the Christian prayer on the other hand requires a genuine spiritual disposition as over anything outward because God looks at the heart (1Sam16:7). So remember the first thing you ought to do in prayer is be intellectually honest concerning where you stand before God and then follow the trail as the Holy Spirit leads you in always seeking the Lord Jesus Christ.

What we ought to know about Good Friday!

To start; from the time Adam disobeyed God and ate from the tree of knowledge of right and wrong, Adam received his own standard of righteousness, which was separate from God. This broke the communion between man and his Creator and there was a separation between man and God leading to death in the Spirit of man. This Spirit was what God breathed into Adam when he was formed out of mud, to be made in the image of God, but when man fell short of the glory of God that image was broken and since man was given stewardship over the earth and all that is in it, the earth bore the repercussion of Adam’s fall. It is from Adam that every man has a self-righteousness different from the other and this has brought the world its many ever increasing religions. God’s moral standard for His people has always been to first love God and second to love neighbor as self. In this man is called to love the Lord beyond himself and love His neighbor just as He loves himself but such is not the case with fallen man. Fallen man loves praise which almost equals worship, in his religion too (outside Christ), what he worships is nothing but metaphors of his own rebellious lust, which feeds his sinful desires against God and his neighbor. Eventually what fallen man worships is nothing but himself.

Gen 3
4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!
5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

The remedy for this fall was either an eternal death sentence for the Law breaker or that the one who put the Covenant (Law) in place to die (Heb 9:16). Now before the Son of God came as man, He was referred to as the Angel of the Lord i.e. the Arc Angel who was given the names… Michael and Gabriel. From instances such as Jacob wrestling the Angel of the Lord and Peniel and The Angel of Lord appearing in the burning bush to Moses on Mt. Sinai, we see these so termed ‘Christophany’ in Gen 22 as well. Because it has always been as John 1:18 puts it: “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”

Gen 22
15 Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven,
16 and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son,
17 indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.

Now coming to the Jesus you and I know, who was born 2000 years ago, He took upon Himself additionally with losing His deity, He took upon Himself every aspect of the nature of man but without sin i.e. He was not subject to Original Sin that came through the posterity of Adam but was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:34-35).

This Almighty God, the Second Person of Holy Trinity bore the humiliation of infirmities of fallen men yet without sin (Heb 4:15). Jesus thereby substituted the eternal death of every man, whom God the Father willed to save. It is important to understand, concerning Jesus’ death that so far as He is God, His communion with God remained at the bosom of His Father even on the cross but in the state of His sinless humanity, who bore the sins of His people in His body (1Pe 2:24), He was despicable in the sight of God and God poured out His full wrath without any mitigating factor. Theologically speaking, God did not die for us but it was the sinless state of Christ as man who died for us because God cannot die. God is immutable (unchanging) and the Man nature of Christ was a foreordained addition eternity past rather than an amendment in God the Son.

So Christ endured the full humiliation in the state of man, right from being conceived, where the world and apostate Judaism denied Him His absolute and rightful homage; humiliation going right up to the cross. It was Christ in the state of sinless man who endured this, the worst of which was when God turned His face from Him in disgust for the sin Christ as man carried in His body… but so far as Jesus is God …the Son of God… His communion with God was never broken because the nature of Sin can never stand before the presence of a Holy God, so it was in His humanity that He carried the sins of His people and not in His Deity as the Son of God. As theologian Joseph Morecraft puts it: the statement ‘God died for His people’ is a heretical statement and when Jesus said to the thief that ‘this day you will be with me in paradise’ it refers to the omniscience (Knowing All) and omnipresence (Present Everywhere) of God the Son when the thief entered the kingdom of heaven. Further it must be stated that Christ rested from His redemptive works only when He sat down at the right hand of God the Father (John 20:17), so when He said on the cross… ‘it is finished’, He was speaking only in anticipation of His redemptive work.

Act 2
27 Because You will not abandon my soul to Hades, Nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

We thereby understand that as much as Christ was human, He was required to deal with the complete wages of sin and that included His soul descending to hell and his body lying dead in the tomb, making Him still subject to humiliation because it says so in Isaiah that God was pleased to crush Him. Yet because he carried sin in His flesh though He was without sin, He was subject to undergo every aspect of divine wrath including hell. However as the Old Testament scripture prophesizes, that God will not let His body be left to decay and He has seen the travail of His soul and be satisfied, and so He was raised to life having overcome sin and death for His Church.

Acts 2
30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption
.

When Jesus resurrected on the third day, He rose accomplishing redemption: the mightiest work of God known to His people since creation because through the redemptive work of the cross He reconciled all things to Himself. It is this reason that the Redemptive Sabbath, the day God rested from His Redemptive works is celebrated over the Creation Sabbath, the day God rested from His Creation works. When the Lord Jesus Christ met the disciples after His Resurrection (John 20:19-23), He breathed on them said “Receive the Holy Spirit”, which was indicative that the Spiritual life Adam lost for every man was restored for the elect in Christ.

Gen 2 (Creation Account)
7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

John 20 (Redemptive Account)
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

This Living Spirit is made available to all whom God the Father brings into Salvation in His Son. Today God the Holy Spirit teaches concerning Jesus’ redemptive works through God breathed Scripture, to sustain this restored living spirit and image of God.

2Timothy 3
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Matthew 4
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

To conclude, I’d like to state that this Good Friday message is therefore as 1John4:10 puts it, that it is not that we loved God first but He loved His people out of no merit of their own and sent his Son to be the propitiation for their sins.

The Christ of Christianity!

Mat 16
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.

From the above scripture we see a few things that are critical to the Christian faith. The most important question concerning one’s salvation is ‘who is Jesus Christ?’. With the reprobate it has always been that what the majority believe, is the right thing. For e.g. if you were to ask an unbeliever who comes from a people setting where homosexuality or abortion is so rampant that it has become the fabric of his society, if you were ask this unbeliever what he thought of the Law of God that abhorred the sin of homosexuality and abortion, this unbeliever though he may not have participated in that sin, he will discount the Law of God just because the society he comes from teaches otherwise in majority.

So it was similar when Christ asked His disciples ‘who He is?’ the disciples first rattled off what society considered Christ to be, then when they were asked to answer that question for themselves, that was when they actually made a declaration of faith. This declaration of faith is that rock on which the Church is built by Christ, which hell cannot overpower even though it is right outside its gate.

Phil 2
9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Romans 10
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

2 Peter 1
10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

Many a times in an Arminian setting, the belief is that so long as one acknowledges Christ as Lord, salvation is made available to the person but the truth of matter is, all shall confess that He is Lord (Phil 2:9-11). Today the hatred of God in the reprobate puts off this confession for another time but a time will come when this confession shall be so overbearing upon them that even the consuming fires of His wrath will not deter their perfect subjection and their knees shall be like ripe fruit falling to the ground in its time. You see only the believer shall know Christ as ‘Lord and Savior’ (2Peter 1:11) but the reprobate will only know Him as ‘Lord’ in time but never as Savior.

There are many in the Arminian setting, who say that they first acknowledged Christ as Savior when they believed and then as Lord. This may be case when people consider themselves and their works as what makes them what they are. You see such a believer, feels he has taken the onus to receiving the sacrifice of Christ for his sins and later when he begins to see change in his life coming out of obedience this believer says then that he has received Christ as Lord. However, such a school of thought shows that it is the believer himself and not the Word of God which is the standard of Christian life. When the Bible teaches that salvation is the finished work of Jesus Christ, then the true believer ought to know that there is nothing left for him to do, so as complete his own salvation. His salvation stems from the promises of God, which will never move. Heaven and Earth shall pass away but never His Word (Mat 24:35). He chose, He paid for and He sanctified; and though we are to work out our salvation, our iniquity can never cast aside His promise to His elect. For He Himself is Sovereign in the working out of our salvation.

Phil 2
12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

This goes to show that a person, who truly acknowledges Christ as Savior, shall just the same acknowledge Him as Lord, which is dependent on his calling as God’s elect, for only then shall he trust in God (Word) and lean not on his own understanding (Prov 3:5). For those who say that they received Christ as Savior but their lives never showed that they have received Him as Lord, on the day of their judgment, though they may call unto Him ‘Lord Lord’, He shall cast them into the darkness for their lives never obeyed His rule (Moral Law) i.e. though they called Him ‘Lord Lord’, these hypocrites never received His Lordship in His salvation and thereby turn subject to receive His Lordship in His justice.

A believer in receiving Jesus Christ is brought to terms with His authority as Prophet, Priest and King. In theology, these three are the offices He holds as God the Son.
• He is thee Prophet about whom all Spirit-breathed scripture (the Bible – the only credible Word on God) points to (Luke 24:19-27). In His office as Prophet He teaches and admonishes the people of God, as a Shepherd unto His sheep (John 10), by the working of His Spirit.
• He is thee Priest of the highest order ‘Melchizedek’ (Heb 7), the only mediator between God and men, who offers Himself as the unblemished atoning sacrifice for His people (Heb 9:14).
• He is thee ‘King’: King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 17:14), where His enemies are made His footstool (Luke 20:43, Acts 7:49) and He rules over His kingdom with righteousness (Isaiah 32:1).

This ultimately is saving faith that you know Jesus Christ (John 17:3), as a Christian.

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