“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Pet 2:9-10
The word ‘Church’ in Greek is ‘Ekklesia’ which is a compound of ‘Ek’ meaning ‘out’ and ‘Kalio’ meaning ‘to call.’ As such, the Church implies to people ‘called out’ of spiritual darkness through faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection. The Church is not a physical building but the spirit of those who are made alive by being baptized into Christ, buried together and brought back to life again through His resurrection.
Simply put, the invisible Church is composed of those who are ‘called out’ by God not only outwardly but inwardly by the Holy Spirit.
According to 1 Pet 2:9-10, the Lord spoke to us the ‘called out’ by using several term in order to help us appreciate our position in Christ. He referred us as a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people and a people who have received mercy. We occupy a very favoured position in God’s universe by grace through faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.
1. A Chosen Generation
Peter uses terminology commonly used in reference to Israel. Deut 7:6 In the same way, Israel was called to be God’s generation on earth and to be witnesses for Him, the Church is now God’s chosen generation to display His glory. This choosing is not because we are better than others or because we responded to God on our own. This choosing is a work totally by God’s grace rendered to those who believe in His Righteousness. Eph 1:4-6 This is important for us to know because often we are deemed to be the scum of the earth. 1 Cor 4:9-13 However, this choosing as God’s generation represents our salvation obtained through our faith in Jesus’ baptism and death.
2. A Royal Priesthood
As chosen believers, we who are ‘called out’ from the world to become a royal priesthood for God. In the OT, priest came from the lineage of Aaron from the tribe of Levi. Only they could approach God at the temple and offer sacrifices. The priests were anointed and empowered by the Holy Spirit to minister to God and the people. In the NT, there is no longer a priest who came from a specific tribal line. True believers in the righteousness of God are royal priesthood representing the fact that we have been united with Christ through His baptism and death. We are Christ’s body and whatever glory Christ receives we receive as well to serve His righteousness. Rom 8:17
3. A Holy Nation
Peter also says that the ‘called out’ ones are a holy nation. This again is a terminology used of Israel. In Exo 19:6, Israel was called a holy nation. Israel was set apart by God for good works, to serve Him and worship Him. In the same way, we have been called out and set apart to do good works. This separates us from the world. Eph 2:10 God chose us as His workmanship to display His wonderful salvation fulfilled in our lives to the rest of the world.
4. A Special People
Peter declares that the Church is a people specially possessed by God. Again this was something said about Israel in Deut 7:6 What does this mean? It means not only we are here to serve God but more than that we are here for His pleasure. Whatever we own, we own for our pleasure because it gives us joy. Well, God chose the ‘called out’ as a special people. This knowledge of truth would drastically change our mindset when we are persecuted, mocked, abused and rejected by the world and yet, owned and treasured by God. We are God’s treasured possession. God gets great joy over us when we imitate, enjoy and walk like Him.
5. A People Who Have Received Mercy
Peter says that the ‘called out’ ones has received mercy. We are people whom God did not give the judgment and punishment that we deserved. It has often been said grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve. Mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we deserve. At NCCkl, we were once the people under God’s wrath because of sin. Now, because of God’s grace through faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness, we have received mercy, forgiveness of sins and the indwelling Holy Spirit to become the people of God.
“For many are called, but few are chosen.”. Matt 22:14
Many are called but few are chosen. Our Savior often uses this expression. The Jews and Gentiles had been called but few of them had been chosen to life, the elect of God. This is also true that many who are in church may prove to be without the wedding garment of righteousness and show at last that they were not the chosen of God.
The provision made for perishing souls in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection is represented by a royal feast made by a king on the marriage of his son. Our merciful God has not only provided food but a royal feast for the perishing souls of His rebellious creatures.
The reason why sinners come not to Christ is not because they cannot but because they will not. They are careless. Multitudes perish forever through mere carelessness as to their souls.
The parable ends with this haunting words, “for many are called but few are chosen.” What does this parable mean to us? There is a certain amount of mystery connected with evangelism. We go out and invite many people to come to Christ but only a few of them become true Christians. No matter what form of evangelism we use, only a few people will be converted and added to the local church. What makes them unqualified to be saved? Christ gave the answer in this parable. He tells us about 4 kinds of people who disqualify themselves from salvation in Christ.
- Those Who Will Not Come Matt 22:2-3
God sends us out to call everyone to come to Christ but many people simply won’t come, in fact the vast majority will not come. No matter what we do or say, these people will not come to Christ and be converted. Many people will continue to go down the broad road that leads to Hell. Only a few people will enter the narrow road that leads to life in Christ. Matt 7:13-14
- Those Who Pay No Attention Matt 22:4-5
These people are not quite blunt as the first group who simply ‘would not come,’ They will often come to church to hear the Gospel a few times but they do not get converted because they have no seeking heart. Jesus said, concerning them, “when they have heard, go forth and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life and bring no perfection.” Lk 8:14. They seemed to listen to the Gospel of God’s Righteousness. They seemed to be happy in the local church. However, sooner or later the cares and worries of the world and its desires of money and pleasure, choke them and they fall away from the local church.
- Those Who Rebel Matt 22:6
We should not be surprised when some people get very angry with us during evangelism, particularly when we are preaching the Gospel of God’s righteousness that speaks about Jesus’ baptism and death. Jesus said, “I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you . If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” John 15:19-20. This is part of the price we pay for taking the Gospel to the lost in evangelism. There will always be some people who are angry with us for sharing the love of the Gospel. They are really in rebellion against Christ.
- Those Who Refuse Faith In God’s Righteousness Matt 22:10
The one guest without proper wedding clothes represents all those who have not truly believed in the baptism, death and resurrection of Christ to be born again and to put on the garment of righteousness. They are the bad guests mentioned in verse 10. Even though they have come to the king’s house with all the other guests but they will be thrown out. The wedding garment represents the righteousness of God, signifying those who have put their faith in the baptism and death of Jesus to receive perfect remission of sin and the indwelling Holy Spirit.
“elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” 1 Pet 1:2
It is imperative to know that the plan of God for the salvation of mankind were established within the Righteousness of God. Even though God had saved all men through the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection but only those who believe in His Righteousness are called according to the fore knowledge of God. The word ‘elect’ simply means ‘chosen’ to be set apart for the glory of God.
Who Are God’s Elect? 1 Thess 1:2-10
Without question the Word of God teaches that before the world began God’s sovereignty has planned salvation for man within the righteousness of God. The purpose of God in election must stand, that it is not by works but by Him Who calls. Our salvation is altogether the work of divine grace bestowed upon us through the merit of Christ’s righteous acts on earth.
The Apostle Paul assured the believers at Thessalonica that they were numbered among God’s elect. Then Paul listed 5 characteristics of God’s elect, 5 identifying marks of election.
- God’s Elect Hear The Gospel of God’s Righteousness And Receive It In The Power of the Holy Spirit vs 5
All who are elect of God will hear the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection and sense a deep conviction in their hearts by the irresistible power of the Holy Spirit. They will be compelled to believe because the Gospel came not with words only but also in power, Holy Spirit and much assurance.
- God’s Elect Become Followers of Christ vs 6
All who are elect of God experience that their hearts and lives are radically changed by the Gospel Word of Righteousness. Our Lord said, “My sheep (elect) hear my voice and I know them and they follow me.” Those who are born of God follow the example of Christ in faith, love and hope by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
- God’s Elect Are People Committed To The Gospel vs 7 & 8
Paul knew that the Thessalonian believers were truly God’s elect because they became example to all who believe. From them, the Word of the Lord were sounded out in every place and their faith in God was spread abroad. These men and women were devoted to the furtherance of the Gospel of God’s Righteousness. They did not have to be primed and pumped week after week to get them to walk with their Savior. The love of Christ and the grace of God had gotten hold of their hearts. .
- God’s Elect Experience Genuine Conversion vs 9
The Thessalonian believers who are God’s elect turn to the Living Savior from idols to serve and worship Him only. Conversion is a change and turning of the heart. It is a change of mind, a change of masters and a change of motives.
- God’s Elect Are Waiting For Jesus Christ From Heaven vs 10
Those who are God’s Elect are born of God live in the anticipation of Christ glorious return to take them home from this fallen world. They are created in God’s Righteousness, received perfect remission of sin, adopted as God’s children by the indwelling Holy Spirit, enjoy heavenly blessings and waiting to live as divine children throughout eternity.
We become God’s elect through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and are made obedient to the will of God.
More than that, we have the blessing and forgiveness through the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ forever made possible by the baptism and death of Christ. 1 Pet 1:2
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13
The average person today faces a myriad of different pressure. For some, I am sure, it feels like they are living in a pressure cooker. Even the born again believers in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection are not exempted from the pressures of life. However, feeling the pressure can actually be a good thing. Why? It will often drive us to rely on God’s presence, providence and power. One thing God has taught me about the pressures of life is that it can either work for us or against us. Listed below are some of the benefits of withstanding pressure with Christ as our strength :
1. Contentment Phil 4:11-13
We must learn to be contented when withstanding pressure by being grateful for what we have and what we are in Christ. Now you might think this sounds like a weird and almost impossible response when we are feeling the heat in life. The Apostle Paul in the passage above was shackled to a guard in a Roman prison cell. What Paul demonstrated was an art of contentment in a most awful situation. Paul was saying this by his action, full or hungry with much or little and comfort or adversity God is still our source. It doesn’t matter what we are going through. When we are going through a temporary rough patch or a temporary lean time, God is our source. Contentment is only found when we are plugged into God, No matter what is going around us, we can face anything through Christ Who infuses inner strength into us. Paul looked for the good and was thankful in the midst of his adverse situation. Paul was thankful he had a privilege to witness and impact the Gospel among the Roman troops even during this dire moments.
2. Gratitude Rom 1:18-31
When we live a life filled with gratitude, we can withstand pressure. The seeds of depression and bitterness will never grow in a thankful heart. In the passage above, Paul talks about people who are depraved when they resist the Gospel of God’s Righteousness. If you read carefully, Paul indicates that ingratitude to God’s goodness leads one to depravity. Bitter and depressed people don’t thank God for Who He is or for the things He has done. This leads their minds being darkened. This sin leads to another sin and to another sin until they end up in an absolutely depraved state. Such attitude become the perfect recipe for emotional pressure among those who are unappreciative of God.
3. Power Acts 5:27-42
The setting for Acts 5 is in Jerusalem a short time after the baptism, death and resurrection of Jesus. Thousands of people had become Jesus’ followers. This situation did not go unnoticed by Jewish leaders. In fact, the Apostles had been arrested and warned not to speak anymore in the Name of Jesus. They faced both religious and political pressure. The Apostles were punished by the method of flogging. Victims were whipped across the back with ‘forty lashes minus one’ and some died from the experience. However, these early disciples did not crumble under the pressure that came against them. Why? They could withstand the pressure by claiming that ‘we must obey God rather than man’. What about us? We too face enormous pressure to administer the Gospel of God’s Righteousness in our culture. There ae several values that can come from pressure when we glean the passage above demonstrated by the disciples. Pressure can clarify our priorities, pressure can form our message, pressure can occasion our joy and pressure can foster our determination.
When a mother is giving birth to a baby, the pressure brings excruciating pain. However, what enables the mother to endure the effects of the pressure is the fact her heart is fixed on the outcome produced by the pressure.
Pressure will reveal the depth of our character, pressure will reveal the direction of our course and pressure will reveal the decisiveness of our commitment.
In Phil 4:13, Paul wrote ‘I can do all things through Christ…..’
He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God and being fully convinced that what He had promised was also able to perform. Rom 4:20-21
At NCCkl, we are so blessed to have the righteousness of faith like Abraham had. Our faith and hope is simply rested on the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection. The story of childless Abraham and Sarah and their miracle child Isaac is a story of hope in trusting God against all odds. While natural mind would say the promised child was an impossibility, Abraham had hope no matter what the obstacles stood against him.
From the verses above, let us glean some of the key words that reflect the hope Abraham had against all odds.
1. He Did Not Waver…..v 20
Abraham’s faith was unshakeable and steadfast. We must stand firm in the promises of God with courage and confidence. Abraham did not allow his circumstances to hinder his hope in God.
2. … At The Promise Of God v 20
The promise of God is unchanging, why should we even think of wavering? How simple it ought to be to have hope in God when we consider the faithfulness of Him Who promised. All the promises of God in Christ are yes and Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Throughout the Bible there is not one word that has failed of all the promises God gave His people through His servants.
3. … Through Unbelief v 20
Without faith it is impossible to please God. Unbelief impedes hope in God. Unbelief is a curse from the devil to prevent our faith and hope in God.
4. … But Was Strengthened In Faith v 20
Though Abraham faced the bleak biological reality but he did not allow the weakening of his hope in God. At all circumstances, we ought to strengthen ourselves in the Lord and in His mighty power. Gos is sovereign.
5. … Giving Glory To God v 20
The desire to glorify God is perhaps a forgotten motive in our believing God for answered prayers and promises. Most of us after receiving our prayers have a tendency not to appreciate God. In fact, our motive for God to be glorified must be paramount in all our prayer requests. Personally, I noticed when I have such an attitude, prayers are answered
6. … Being Fully Convinced v 21
We must be fully persuaded that the God we believe is able to keep His promises. We must be convinced that God works for us and not against us. As such, we must not doubt when we ask God for something in the time of need.
7. … He Had Promised v 21
God, Who does not lie, promised to be reliable and trustworthy. It is not difficult to have hope in God’s promises when we consider the utter impossibility of God lying to us.
8. … He Was Also Able To Perform v 21
What is impossible with man is possible with God. With God all things are possible. The disciples of Jesus recognize the value of unshakeable hope and appealed to God to increase their faith. The Apostle Paul lived out this message of hope in his own life. The Lord assured Paul that they would be safe during a furious storm on the sea. Paul then encouraged his shipmates with a confident declaration to stay calm and courageous because God is able to keep them from sinking. Acts 27:25
Therefore, “it was accounted to him for righteousness” Rom 4:22 Now God’s approval of Abraham’s faith was not written for his sake alone but also for us.
Today, righteousness of faith will be imputed to us when we believe in God Who sent Jesus to take our sins through His baptism and death. God raised Jesus from the dead to justify our faith in God’s Righteousness.
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Rom 5:5
It is important to know that as believers in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection, we have been given tremendous hope in Christ by God. When discouraging and depressing situations threatens our born again soul, we look to God to lift us up in Christ.
Once fear is cast out, we then have to build Christ’s hope in its place, a beautiful virtue and life transforming grace that yields multiple benefits.
When we do this, there are several God given reasons to hope in Christ.
1. Hope Leads Us To Rely On God’s Presence
In Rom 5:3-5, Paul says that we can rejoice in our hardships because we are a people of hope. How can we have hope when everything looks hopeless? In the midst of hardship, we can rejoice because these challenges causes us to rely on God’s presence. When we go through hardship, we often pray and seek God more intensely than at other times. My greatest times of growth have been when I have reached the end of my resources and all I have left is Jesus. God uses hardship to make us rely on His presence. Ruminate God’s love based on what Jesus did for us through His baptism and death that releases hope of assurance.
2. Hope Leads Us To Rely On God’s Provision
In 2 Cor 12:7, Paul reveals that he has suffered from a ‘thorn in the flesh.’ God was concerned about Paul not becoming proud and He allowed this to happen to him from becoming conceited. In our current situation, God is saying to us that His grace is sufficient even when we feel weak. God is making us stronger than we have ever been. His grace is not an abstract idea, it is the Person of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
3. Hope Leads Us To Rely On God’s Power
In 2 Cor 12:9b, Paul is rhetorically asking what is undermining us, is it finance, health, family issues, studies or job issues. Whatever it is, Paul says he will boasts in those things because when we are weak, the power of Christ rests on us. The greater the enemy comes at us, the greater Jesus is in us.
4. Hope Leads Us Forward
Hope in Christ is a realistic expectation of and joyful longing for future good and glory based upon the reliable Word of God’s Righteousness found in the Gospel of water and Spirit. The more we long for the future, the less we will yearn for the past. Hope delete regrets and underlines expectations. It diminishes drag and increases momentum in our faith life.
5. Hope Lightens Our Darkness
Hope does not deny nor remove the reality of dark and painful providence. However, it does shine bright light into those valleys and points to the sunrise at the end of them.
6. Hope Increases Faith
Faith fuels hope but hope also fuels faith. As Hebrew 11 makes very clear, hope and faith are very closely tied together, one enlivening the other. Without faith we cannot soar in hope but with hope faith will limp home. The greatest believers are greatest hopers… and vice versa.
7. Hope Is Infectious
Just as we can drag others down by our recrimination and criticisms, so we can inspire and motivate others through our hope in Christ. It not only encourages other weak Christians but it also impacts depressed unbelievers who cannot but ask a reason for the hope they see in us. 1 Pet 3:15
8. Hope Defends
Paul also depicts hope as a defensive helmet that must not be taken off and laid aside until the battle is over. Eph 6:17; 1 Thess 5:8. The helmet points us to the area of greatest vulnerability and danger – our minds or thoughts. That is where Satan usually works to present reasons to doubt and despair. This is the reason why we need our minds daily renewed by the power of hope in the Gospel Word of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.,” Jer 17:7
Psalms 27 reflects an imagery of battle being portrayed in several of its verses. Words like enemies, foes, host and war speak of warfare being waged against David. It appears as though David was engaged in an adverse situation but yet having tremendous amount of hope in God in the midst of the battles.
As believers in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection, hope becomes a powerful thing to us. There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great and no tonic so powerful. Hope from the world’s view point is just a wish or a desire. However, the Bible teaches a vastly different definition of hope.
It teaches us that hope is “a deep settled confidence that God will keep His promises.”
Now, I know at NCCkl, we do encounter battles at times but do we have hope? Are we resting in the sure confidence that God will do just as He has promised He would do? Through Ps 27 verses 1-6, I would show from the words of David, why we have a reason to hope in the Lord, where our hope comes from and what hope overcomes our battles in the Lord.
- Our Confidence In The Lord Provides Hope Ps 27:1-3
David begins his psalms of hope by declaring his personal faith in the Lord. Notice the three fold use of the word ‘my’ in verse 1. David has a personal relationship with God. This is the basic foundation for hope. Confidence in the person of the Lord enables David to declare that God is his light, salvation and strength. These three great characteristics of God serve to give us hope even in the midst of battle. Knowing of Who our Lord is removes any fear that should arise against us. Satan himself is no match for our sovereign God. In verse 2-3, David declares his confidence in the providence of the Lord. David declares that his present hope rest upon that which the Lord has done for him in the past. God did not fail him then and He will not fail His child today.
- Our Commitment To The Lord Provides Hope Ps 27:4
Not only does living with our faith give us hope but also living faithful to the Lord provides a measure of hope that cannot otherwise exist. David mentioned three goals in verse 4. These three goals all arise from a single commitment to serve the Lord faithfully from a heart of love. Firstly, David is committed to lingering near the Lord. He wants to spend his entire life in the house of the Lord. He wants to be in that place where the Lord dwells and where the Lord’s presence is real. Secondly, he is committed to loving the Lord. David wants to behold the beauty of the Lord. He wants to seek God’s face. We see, not only is David committed to being where the Lord is but he is also committed to worshipping the Lord. Thirdly, David is committed to leaning on the Lord. David expresses his desire to call upon the Lord to commune with God. David here declares his utter dependence upon the Lord for the necessities of life. David looks beyond his own abilities and sees the limitless provisions of the Lord. Our commitment to God provides hope in the day of our battles. As we linger near God, love Him for Who He is and lean on Him, we can have the absolute confidence that God will see to our needs and the things that will cause us to worry.
- Our Comfort In The Lord Provides Hope Ps 27:5-6
God has a sheltered place for us. David tells us that the Lord will hide him in God’s pavilion. Those who are fortunate enough to be allowed to enter the king’s pavilion will be protected by the soldiers during the battle. As the battle of life rage about us, we are safely tucked away in our King’s pavilion. Could there be a safer place in all the universe? Of course not! Those who have entered God’s pavilion are protected by Him and even while the battle rage around them, they are clothed with the peace and joy of the King Himself. This is a promise to those who will abide in God’s secret place. No enemy can penetrate the defences and enter God’s secret place. The assurance of God’s sheltering place allows us to weather the storms of life with hope. There is a place we can flee to during the battle that rage around us. A place that affords us quiet, peace and the profound presence of God. Those who have learned to abide in God have been to that place and know the glory of it. David has the assurance that even when life threatens to overflow him, the Lord will set him on a rock, a place that is unchangeable, powerful and immovable. Of course, this rock refers to none other the Lord Jesus Christ.
“being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,” Col 1:11
It is imperative for the believers in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to recognize that they are called to a life of endurance empowered by Christ and accompanied by joyful thanksgiving. Endurance requires patience because reward for today’s right choices will come but it may be months or years from now or not until we leave this world.
Today’s decision determine who we will be tomorrow.
Paul challenged his disciples, “share in suffering as a good soldier in Christ Jesus” 2 Tim 2:3 Soldiers expect hardship and are trained to face it. Today’s roadblocks and distractions make endurance in Christian life seem unattainable. Failure to endure in marriage, jobs, church or any part of life has become normal. A consistent long-term obedience without periodic diversions into sin and unfruitfulness seem an impossible dream. Listed below are some of the characteristics identified in Christian endurance ordained by God.
1. Endurance Is Never Automatic
Following Christ isn’t magic. It requires repeated action on our part which develops into habits and life disciplines. Christ oriented endurance doesn’t just happen, any more than running a marathon or climbing a mountain just happens. Endurance requires a good plan with clear and tangible steps that are taken one after the other. We want the fruit of the spiritual disciplines but often we are unwilling to do the work they actually require. We want the rewards without the sacrifice.
2. Endurance Involves Daily Choices To Do Good Works
I know some of you are thinking, we are born of the water and Spirit by grace through faith, no works involved. We shouldn’t be talking about works, just grace, right? Wrong. While we as the believers in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness oppose works – righteousness but we never oppose righteous works. Indeed, God Himself promotes righteous works and a spirit of disciplined endurance to bring about our transformation. More so, it is God’s sovereign grace that empowers us to do good works, which are central to our calling. In Eph 2:8-10, if we notice the text, God explicitly claims that we are not saved by good works but we are saved to do good works by His power and to His glory. Scripture frequently depicts God’s empowerment of us alongside our endurance to live an empowered Christian life. Col 1:28-29
3. Choosing Companion For Life Of Endurance
We will become the kind of person we choose to spend time with, whether at work, school or church. “Do not be misled: “bad company corrupts good morals” 1 Cor 15:33 Talk to those who have endured and you will find they have chosen good friends who raise the bar instead of lowering it. Make sure your friendships are centred on Christ. “He who walks with the wise grows wise but a companion of fools suffer harm.” Prov 13:20 When we choose to spend our leisure time with someone, it has the power to dramatically shape our lives. A great way to endure in the faith placed in the gospel of God’s Righteousness is to study and pattern our lives after those who have lived a sustained obedience in the same direction. God has also placed in His Church examples of those who endure in obedience in Christ. Find them and spend time with them. Sit at the feet of the wise, not fools.
4. Humility, Generosity And Purity As Paths Of Endurance
Choose pride and you will get God’s opposition. Choose humility and you will get God’s grace. This is why the proud fall away while the humble endure. It is why none of us should ever view ourselves as celebrities, only servants. We are God’s errand boys and girls. What a privilege that is! God humbles us in the ways He knows best. Though we have thorns in the flesh but yet God says “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Prov 16:18
Endurance is Christ’s call to follow Him and to finish strong for God’s glory. There is no higher calling, no bigger privilege and no greater joy than serving our Savior.
“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. John 6:35
According to the passage above, Jesus refers to Himself by declaring “I am the bread of life.”
Since the Lord Himself is the bread of life, when one eats this bread of life by faith, then he receive everlasting life.
The Lord spoke of Himself by drawing an analogy to the bread to explain that He came to this earth to give eternal life to all human beings. To do so, Jesus was incarnated in the flesh of man, was baptized by John the Baptist to accept the sins of mankind onto his own body. Subsequently, He washed away all our sins through His baptism and carried the sins of the world to the cross to bear all our condemnation.
From John 6:16-40, it is written prior to today’s scripture passage that our Lord fed more than 5,000 people by blessing five barley loaves and two fishes. The next day, the people hurriedly came looking for Jesus because they had eaten the bread of the flesh and wanted their carnal affairs met. I identified three important truths that is imperative for our spiritual well being during Jesus’ long conversation with them.
1. What Are You Labouring For? John 6:26-27
Jesus declared that we are to labour for the food that endures to everlasting life. The Son of God came to this earth incarnated with flesh and said that He Himself will give the bread of everlasting life to those who earnestly seek Him. This is the reason Jesus said “don’t work for the food that perishes. Far from it, we should labour for the food that will make us live forever.” Jesus is the bread of life. Those who ate the manna during the time of Moses all died, just as everyone in this world who eat the perishable food will also die some day. However, those who really believe in the Lord with their hearts will attain new and everlasting life. It was completely wrong for them to follow the Lord for any other purpose, only to obtain the food that would perish, to see signs and miracles or to prosper materially. Even though our Lord came to this world as the true bread of life, countless people remain unable to obtain true life because they believe in Jesus mistakenly. I is completely wrong to believe in Jesus and to follow Him only for fleshly needs and as a matter of religion.
2. What To Do To Do The Works Of God? John 6:28-29
The people said to Jesus “you told us to labour for the bread that endures to everlasting life but what shall we do to do the works of God?” Jesus then answered and said to them, “this is the work of God, that you believe in Him Whom He sent.” We must keep in mind that to believe in Him Whom God sent is to do God’s work because Jesus is the One Who has blotted out all the sins of the world and Who gives everlasting life. To believe in Jesus is to do God’s work and this is the way to everlasting life. In contrast, for us to do good deeds blindly, to fast and pray a lot or to serve others in any way do not necessarily mean that we are doing God’s work. In other words, our Lord wants us to really receive the bread of eternal life by believing in Him. To blot out our sins, the Lord shouldered them by being baptized and paid off all wages by shedding His blood on the cross, thus making us sinless.
3. What Kind Of Person The Father Draws? John 6:37, 44
Who are those Whom the Father send to Jesus Christ? They are those who seek the things of Heaven, poor in spirit and who recognize they are sinners before the Law of God. God never sent anyone who seek the fleshly desires and the things of the earth. Everyone knows whether or not there is sin in their hearts. We know ourselves whether we want to believe in Jesus for spiritual purpose of receiving the remission of sins or for the carnal purpose of prospering in this world. Yet despite this, many people still continue to deceive their own conscience and make a mockery out of God. Those who have not been born again seek the things of the flesh and they are more than capable of justifying this. However, what is clear is that the motivation to become a Christian must be spiritual. Jesus came to this world as a Savior Who would deliver us from our sins. Mt 1:21 This means that Jesus is the One Who saved us from all our sins, not someone who makes us rich, prosperous or popular in this world. We believe in Jesus in order to receive the remission of sins, to become God’s children and to enter and live in the Kingdom of God.
Then He spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old..” Luke 5:36
It is imperative to know whether we have received the remission of sins by believing in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection. Are you without sin? We must acknowledge in our hearts that our Lord saved us from all our sins because He gave up His flesh and blood.
We who have a deeper understanding of this Gospel Truth, should earnestly desire to live for the righteousness of the Lord instead of living just for the flesh.
Let us reason out! What else in this world is worthy for the righteous to live for? The Lord has saved us perfectly from sins, worries, concerns, fears and has given us the blessing and opportunity to serve His Righteousness. I truly believe the most upright thing for us to do is to serve the Lord, seek His Kingdom and His Righteousness and to live a life doing new things in the new creation life in Christ.
1. A Life of Serving Luke 5:36
It is an upright faith to profess that serving our Lord only is the right thing to do. The Word from today’s Scripture passage above says “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old.” It would be terribly wrong if we who have received salvation would go back to a life of the past. The Lord clearly says no one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one, otherwise the new makes a tear and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. Our life after receiving salvation should be a life of serving the Lord by faith Who has become our Master. All of us used to live only for our flesh before being born again. However, it must be different now. We cannot live only for ourselves because we now belong to Jesus Christ. The Lord has made us His own by His atoning sacrifice. We who have born again must live a life serving the Lord and serving the gospel through God’s Church. If we receive salvation by faith but continue to live the way we used to live, we cannot live out our faith that is united with God’s will.
2. A Life Seeking The Kingdom And His Righteousness Mt 6:33
The Lord said “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” What does this Word mean? It means that the Lord helps and blesses us in any realm of our life when we live for the Righteousness of God. God intervenes and blesses all aspects of the life of the righteous. The Lord cares for the righteous. The Lord fully intervenes in all our endeavours to help us lead an upright life. There is none who has not received blessing of God among the people who have become righteous and have lived with the guidance of the Church. What is Church life? A Church life is one where the born again saints get together and join their hearts to seek God’s Righteousness and His Kingdom. Saints who have become righteous through the Lord must dwell in the Church of God and joined together among the righteous to fulfil the call.
3. A Life Of Doing New Things 2 Cor 5:17
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” What does the Scripture say about the righteous? It identifies the righteous as a new creation since the old things are gone. No matter how we have lived before and what our heritage were, all of us who know and believe in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness have become new beings. We are definitely not an old thing. We have been new beings ever since we were born again. Our old selves died at the same time we became born again. We have become a new thing in the Lord. We must now do righteous work of God because we have become new beings. All righteous persons would desire to do something new. They really want to do new work that are different from the things they used to do according to their old way of life. The Church becomes new, the persons become new, the pastor becomes new, the leaders become new, their spouses become new and brothers and sisters become new. All those newly born again saints want to meet and fellowship with each other in the Holy Spirit. What is the reason? It is because they all have become new and are seeking to do new things and exploits for Jesus.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
How would you fill in the blank, life is …….? Some have described our existence by filling in the blank that life is like a rat race, a series of choices, a pay cheque, a party and life being short so make it sweet. For us who are born of the water and Spirit, our life belongs to Jesus Who has prepared a way for us to live according to His perfect will.
Let us explore some of the perspectives of life on earth.
1. The Misconception Of Life John 10:10a
Unfortunately, for many life is nothing more than the time spent between birth and death. They endure the drudgery of existence, the boring monotony of the routine and hoping of having enough until the end. In the passage above, Jesus drawing a familiar scene of shepherds on a hillside keeping watch over their sheep by saying “a thief comes only to steal and kill and to destroy.” The job of the shepherd was to lead, protect and feed the sheep but unfortunately just as our time, there were thieves and robbers who exploit the sheep (soul) for personal gratification.
Likewise, there are also many other avenues which we can take that could lead not to life but to destruction. While we would never call these pursuits thieves and robbers who steal our soul but they are just that. As a matter of fact, it is proven through life experience that we will never find life in pleasure, in performance, in possessions, in positions and in worldly pursuits.
2. The Source Of Life John 10:10b
The truth is that life is not found in pleasure, performance, possessions, positions or pursuits. It is found in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus says time and time again that he is the giver and author of life. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” John 11:25 Later in John’s Gospel He states, “I am the way, truth and the life.” John 14:6 However, the most powerful statement Jesus made regarding life was “a thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy, I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.” The word ‘I’ in the verse is emphatic meaning that life is found in no other than Jesus. Furthermore, Jesus said “I am the door of the sheep.” Jesus meant that the sheepfold has only one entrance, life has one source, spiritual nourishment to be obtained only one way and heaven can be entered only through one entrance. The single means of access to all that is life is Jesus.
3. The Significance Of Life John 10:10
The life that Jesus gives is infinitely and eternally different than the life one possesses now. Maybe a little lesson in Greek vocabulary would be helpful in discerning what the significance of this life Jesus offers. The Greek language employs several different words to communicate concept and thoughts that in English only one word is available. Such is true with the concept of life. Two words for life in Greek will clarify the meaning of life. The first word is “bios” in which English word biology is derived. It refers to the duration of life – one’s life span, the time between one’s birth date and one’s death date. It refers to the necessities of life – one’s food, shelter and clothing.
The second word is “zoe” in which the English words zoo and zoology are derived. It refers to the life as God has it. The life that belongs to God that become ours when we place our faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection. It is not duration because this life is not limited by time nor hindered by death. It is not a possession but rather an infilling – God once again breathing His life into us.
When we were born we were given “bios” life. However, when we are born again after receiving perfect remission of sin and the indwelling Holy Spirit by placing our faith in Jesus’ baptism and death, we are given ‘zoe’ life.
The amazing life that Jesus offers is a superabundant life that is full of vitality, a new meaning, a new energy, a new purpose, a new significance, a new outlook, a new hope and a new life.
“Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” Amos 3:3
United we stand, divided we fall. This is true in every level of society, ministry, government, business, management and home. It is also true in the church, the Body of Christ.
When we live in unity, we reflect the perfect relationship in the Godhead: Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
We are one in spirit, one in purpose and one in passion for the Kingdom of God. The Bible makes it very clear that we are to conduct ourselves in love. Love is the glue of unity. Spirit driven unity empowers us to agree wholeheartedly with each other so that we may contend for our precious faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness. At NCCkl, we ought to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel Truth that consist of Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.
In my ministry over the years, I have identified three key elements that showcases the power of unity in the Church of God.
1. Power In Working Together For A Common Goal Neh 2:20
The Scripture declares “…the God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build…” What unites the Lord’s people? What makes for real, lasting and binding unity among the family of God at NCCkl. Throughout Nehemiah 3, we see the people united in an incredible way. Men and women, adults and children, nobles and servants, different tribes, different culture, different occupation working as one towards a common goal. There were hardships, there were setbacks, there were serious spiritual opposition but through it all, the gracious Hand of God was upon them. In 52 days they did what seemed impossible. They built the walls around Jerusalem.
2. Power In Speaking With The New Tongue Gen 11:6
The Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.” A people united can never be defeated. A team united cannot be easily beaten. God Himself recognizes that when men unites together in oneness of purpose, they are able to accomplish spectacular things. However, in this Scripture context, the people of this generation decided to unite to accomplish something apart from God. As a result, only self-righteousness was manifested since their hearts wanted to reach God with their own strength and might by building the Tower of Babel. God decided to demolish their carnal attitude by confusing their one common language and scattered them across the face of the earth. The church that speaks the one heavenly language with the new tongue about the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection has the power to unite and do great exploits for the Kingdom of God.
3. Power In Exalting The Righteousness of God Zech 6:11-15
“…Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, And He shall build the temple of the Lord….” According to the Scripture, someone called the Branch will branch out from the temple, from Jerusalem and He will build the temple of God. In Isa 11:1-3, he says that “He is the Judge of all the world and the One Who will put all creation to rights.” The Branch is the King Who will save. He won’t just judge righteously – He will be our Righteousness. He will be the Righteousness which we all need before God. This King – this Branch – will be the One we must trust in. The Branch is the Priest-King called Jesus Who fulfill all righteousness through His baptism, death and resurrection to save sinners from eternal death. At NCCkl, we endeavour by God’s grace to unite as one family to exalt God’s Righteousness so that the lost souls may be drawn to Jesus Christ.
Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. The calling of every congregation is to be one that live in harmony, working together with one heart and one soul and with a unified vision that causes us to be perfectly joined together.
“I also say to you that you are Peter, on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Mt 16:18
One of the most significant statement in the revelation of God’s plan was Jesus’ promise to His apostles, “I will build my church.”
Let us break down this statement and see what Jesus is teaching here.
Jesus is the one speaking here of what he intended to do. It is important that we understand who Jesus is. He asked His disciples “who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Mt 16:13 Various answers were given – John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Mt 16:14 However, the most important question Jesus asked was this, “but who do you say that I am?” Mt 16:15 No matter what others say or think, we must believe the truth about Jesus. So who is Jesus? Peter correctly answered that He is “the Christ the Son of the Living God” Mt 16:18 He is our Savior and King. 2 Tim 1:10; John 18:36-37 He is one of the Persons of the Godhead. John 1:1; Col 2:9 Others will have false ideas about Jesus – that He is just a prophet, merely a good man or a wise philosopher. Our knowledge of knowing who Jesus is, is vital because Jesus’ identity would be the ‘rock’ upon which the church will be built. Mt16:18
This indicates a future time in which Jesus’ plan would be carried out. The church was not yet in existence but would be in the near future. Mt 16, 19 & 28. How certain was the plan? Was there a chance that Jesus would fail? We have already noticed that Jesus was God in the flesh. Mt 1:23 As God, it would be impossible for Him to lie. Tit 1:2 He was also working along with the Father. John 5:17 When would this church be established? It is important to understand the terms church and kingdom were used. by Jesus to refer to the same institution. Mt 16:18-19 Jesus said that His Kingdom (the church) would come soon within the lifetime of some of His disciples. More so, it would come with power. Mk 9:1 Power would come with the Holy Spirit Acts 1:8 , who came at the Day of Pentecost following the resurrection of Christ. It was here that Christ’ church was established. Acts 2:47
Jesus was going to establish a church. He did not come to reform an existing church. He came to establish a new kingdom (church) Dan2:44 What would this building look like? It would not be a physical building but a spiritual one. Jesus plainly told Pilate “My kingdom is not of this world” John 18:36 We are part of a “spiritual house” 1 Pet 2:6-8 an built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets Eph 2:20. We are the “living stones” that make up the building. 1 Pet 2:5
Jesus was going to build a church but he was not going to transfer ownership to anyone. The church was “purchased” with the blood of Christ after His baptism where He took the sins of humanity. Acts 20:28 He is the “Head of the church“ Eph 5:23 and “will reign” over it forever and ever. Rev 11:15 Since the church belongs to Christ, He makes the rules and “the church is subject to Christ” Eph 5:24 Jesus has “all authority” Mt 28:18 Therefore, we must observe all that Jesus commanded. Everything we say and do must be done by the authority of Christ. Col 3:17 Also, since Christ is the Head, we proclaim and promote Him, rather than ourselves. 2 Cor 4:5
Jesus came to build His church. Jesus did not come to this earth to be baptized and die on the cross in order to build a social club, college, charity homes, daycare or any thing that people add as extension to a church.
The church has a divine mission ordained by God – to proclaim the Gospel Truth of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection in order to save lost souls.
Furthermore, the church exist to equip and build up the members of the body in the righteousness of faith. 1 Tim 3:15 We must be content with the work given to the church, carry it out in the way that is authorized and leave all other work to social and secular organization.
“ And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Acts 2:42
In the NT, church means ‘people’ not ‘buildings’. The church lies at the very heart of God’s eternal purpose. God’s purpose is to build a church of people who are born again through the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection. At NCCkl, we are concerned about the biblical vision of what the church is intended to be.
What are the chief distinguishing marks of a Spirit driven church? One of the best way to answer the question is to take a fresh look at the early church that came into being in Jerusalem on and after the day of Pentecost. The Early Church was radically driven by the Holy Spirit.
1. Word Oriented Church
The first mark that the passage above gives us of the Early Church driven by the Holy Spirit is that it is a learning church. It was a studying church. They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles. This is exceedingly significant because the Spirit filled converts were not enjoying some mystical experience that they were witnessing but was totally focused on growing in the Word. They acknowledged that Jesus had appointed the apostles as the leaders of the church and they submitted to their authority and leadership. The presence of physical miracles throughout the Scriptures is to authenticate fresh stage of revelation. We have no biblical authority to expect miracles in the physical realm with the same frequency because God has completed His revelation in Christ. The Bible now is the final authority. A Spirit driven church is one that takes seriously the authority of the Scriptures and seeks to submit to Him. Its ministers will expound the Bible from the pulpit through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Its parents will teach their children out of the Scriptures. Its members will read and reflect upon the Scriptures everyday in order to grow into maturity in Christ. The Spirit of God leads the people of God to submit to the Word.
2. Fellowship Oriented Church
Secondly, the Spirit driven church is a caring church, a loving church and a supportive church. Its members love and care for one another. They devote themselves to strengthen and enhance vibrant fellowship. Vibrant fellowship expresses what we share in together, what we have received together and what we participate in together. It is our common participation in the grace and mercy of God the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Vibrant fellowship also bears witness to what we share outwardly together and not just when we receive together but more so when we give together. Vibrant fellowship in the Spirit driven church leads to simplicity, contentment and generosity.
3. Worship Oriented Church
Thirdly, a Spirit driven church worship together in spirit and in truth. They are built on the common faith that is established by uniting with Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection. They devote themselves to the breaking of the bread and prayers with oneness of heart declaring Jesus’ baptism and death. Furthermore, worship songs never fails to exalt the Righteousness of God that saves one’s soul. It is done both formal and informal. We need the experience of exuberant worship so that both young and old can let down their guards and express freely their heart felt worship to the Lord our Savior. Not withstanding, we also need the experience of the dignity of the church service where order is paramount. The Early Church was both joyful and reverent at the same time.
The three marks of a Spirit driven church concerns our relationship as brothers and sisters in Christ. We are a family.
Our responsibility is to seek the power, direction and the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
When the Holy Spirit is given the rightful place of freedom in the church, then our church will approximate these ideals – biblical faith, loving fellowship and living worship.
“32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. 33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. .” Acts 4: 32-33
Is it any wonder we have conflict, confusion and deadness in many churches today? Nothing precedes purpose. The starting point for every church should be the question, “why do we exist?” Until we know what our church exist for, we will have no foundation, no motivation, no direction and no unity. At NCCkl, we exist to preach the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection for the salvation of sin, to receive the Holy Spirit and to become God’s glorious children.
The Early Church knew why they existed. They were unified in that one purpose.
According to the passage above, Jesus had enlisted these followers not to a life of leisure but to a life of service. While each had a different task they all had the same calling to fulfill the Great Commission in their generation. They had one leader – Jesus, one purpose – to communicate the Gospel Truth of Jesus’ baptism and death to all people. These early disciples did more for the spread of this beautiful Gospel than any generation of followers since. What was their secret?
- Unity Acts 4:32
They had unity in the Church of God. All the believers shared in this unity. Not just the apostles. All the believers were unified in love and one purpose. They were family in relationship, friends in fellowship and followers of Christ in partnership. They shared the spiritual Father – God Almighty, their lives, possessions and enterprise together. The believers were from various backgrounds with different interests and perspectives who has been called together for one purpose. That purpose is to cooperate in reaching out beyond their walls in order that others can know the love of Jesus Christ. We are in the life-saving business. That endeavor is accomplished best when we understand that we are a family of friends in partnership with each other.
- Power Acts 4:33
Purpose is the power in the engine of life. Purpose assures us that the steering wheel is connected to the engine. Without purpose there is a motion without emotion. There is activity without accomplishment. There is efficiency without effectiveness. The early disciples had a laser-like focus to their purpose and the corresponding result was power - the dynamite of the Gospel of God’s Righteousness. The power was evidenced by the quality of the believers, their ability to withstand satanic assault and their finding strength in diversity. The early believers quickly realized that their diversity could either be a source of division or a source of power. They chose the latter.
- Favor Acts 4:33
The early disciples were unified in purpose. Thus they were committed to the task of reaching the world with the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection. God smiled down on them with favor. Grace as we knew, means unmerited love or favor. They were generous, God was generous, they were disheartened over the same things that broke the heart of God and they held in high esteem the purposes of Jesus, God held them in high esteem. It seemed that there exists – both an individual and a church – a direct correlation between our faithfulness to God’s plan and God’s favor in our lives. If we want to experience God’s blessing we need to first be obedient to His purpose.
Nowhere we are told to build unity of one purpose. We are instructed simply to keep the unity of one purpose. Unity of one purpose does not need to be created, it simply needs to be protected.
“Now it came to pass……as soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob and Jacob had gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.” Gen 27: 1-30
It is very important for us to realise that all blessings from God are released to us through God’s Church.
It is through God’s Church that God works and blesses His people.
In today’s Scripture passage above, God is teaching us a deep truth. We need to latch on to the reason why God recorded this event in the Bible. It was to reveal the fact that God bestows the blessings through His Church.
- Jacob Was Blessed Because He Listened To His Mother And Followed Her Counsel
Isaac, the son of Abraham and the father of Jacob is nearing his death and losing his sight. Isaac called his firstborn Esau to hunt and make him a savory food he loves before passing on his blessing. Esau sharpened his arrows, sling them over his shoulder and went out to hunt. Rebecca, Isaac’s wife eavesdropped what Isaac was saying and wanted Jacob to be blessed instead of Esau. Rebecca told Jacob to follow her instruction and counsel. Rebecca told Jacob to bring two choice young goats from the flock. Rebecca cooked them and made savory food for Isaac. Furthermore, Rebecca put the goat’s skin on Jacob’s arms and neck to prevent Isaac from identifying him.
- It Is On Account Of The Faith Of God’s Church (NCCkl) That God Has Blessed
Jacob’s mother symbolizes God’s Church. The Bible implies the Church as a married woman. The Scriptures describe how Jacob was blessed through the Church. Jacob was blessed because he did what his mother, God’s Church, told him to do. The Church (mother) made savory food so that Jacob will be able to receive his father’s blessing. Savory food here refers to the Truth of salvation that Jesus Christ has blotted out all our sins once and for all with the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection. None other than our faith in this righteous work of the Lord is the prepared savory food before God the Father. If we make this savory food of faith and take it to God we will receive all His blessings.
There are several deep truths that I have gleaned in this passage:
a. God has clearly established His Church as the pathway through which He bestows His blessings.
b. Although there are countless churches in this world, only few churches actually teach the mystery of salvation that enables us to receive the remission of sin through the Gospel Word.
c. Jacob was a deeply flawed man with many shortcomings but was still blessed because he obeyed his mother (Church).
d. Although we think that we are serving God’s Church but the reality is, it is God’s Church that is serving us.
e. Those who take God’s Church lightly are leading a life of their own strength rather than a life of faith. They are asking for blessing from anywhere, akin to building the Tower of Babel.
f. Spiritually speaking, the savory food for Isaac refers to the Gospel of the remission of sins. The savory food of faith cannot be found just anywhere.
g. Rebecca as the wife (Church) knows the most about what Isaac (God) loves to eat. She did not just make a meal that anyone makes but she made a very special dish (Gospel Truth) that satisfies the Father.
h. God’s Church is absolutely indispensable to every born again Christians.
“but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen..“ 2 Pet 3:18
Grace is the sweetest word next to Jesus in the Bible. Apart from grace we cannot know, understand or relate to God. Grace is the face that God puts on when He looks at our failure, faults and flaws. Christianity cannot be understood apart from an adequate grasp of grace. In acrostic fashion we had been taught to define grace as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense” – Grace.
Grace is a part of the character of God. God is a God of all grace and He desires to make this known not only to men but also to the angelic host. Eph 1:5-12 Grace is epitomised by the baptism and death of Jesus on the cross.
We cannot grasp the grace of God except in the light of Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.
While grace has always existed as a part of the character of God and was epitomised through the baptism and death of Christ, its truth is expressed in a wide variety of forms.
1. Common Grace is that benevolence which is poured out upon all men, regardless of their spiritual Matt 5:44-45 God is gracious in making provision for the salvation of all men. He is also gracious in delaying judgment, thereby giving men ample time to repent. 2 Pet 3:9
2. Saving Grace is that generous provision of salvation rendered freely by faith in Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection for those who believe. Acts 15:11
3. Securing Grace is that manifestation of God’s benevolence by which true believers in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness are kept secure in spite of sin. Rom 5:1-2 Just as a lost man cannot obtain salvation through any good work of his own, neither can the believers maintain his salvation by doing good works. Salvation is obtained and maintained by grace alone.
4. Sanctifying Grace is that grace which work within a true believer of the Gospel of God’s Righteousness in such a way as to bring growth, maturity and progress in the process of becoming Christ like. Acts 13:43; 1 Cor 15:10
5. Serving Grace is the enablement to minister in such a way as to manifest the life of our Lord through the saints as members of His body. Eph 4:7; 1 Pet 4:10 Its specifically refers to spiritual gifts. The term ‘gift’ is a derivative of the word ‘grace’.
6. Sustaining Grace is a grace given at special times of need, especially during adversity or suffering. 2 Cor 12:9; Heb 4:16
Grace seeks us and saves us. Grace keeps us secure. Grace enables us to serve and endure the tests and trials of life. Grace will bring about our sanctification in this life and will ultimately bring us to glory. From beginning to end we are the object of divine grace.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. “ Ecc 3:11
When God created mankind He set mankind on a quest to find God. The Bible says that every man is born with a mysterious longing in their hearts that nothing can satisfy except God. Since the beginning of time, man have been trying to find this mystery but it is only revealed to those who are born of the water and Spirit.
When man fails to find the Gospel Truth that provides true grace, they seek their own ways to satisfy the longing of their hearts which only leads to destruction and eternal condemnation.
In Jude 1:11, the Word warns us with 3 consequences when we lack the correct understanding of true grace.
A, The Way Of Cain Genesis 4
When mankind misunderstands the true grace of God that comes through the Righteousness of God, they tend to establish their own ways to reach God. This is primarily called self-righteousness where man is establishing his own effort.
B.The Error Of Balaam Numbers 22
Today we see people who have the attitude of Balaam. In their self-righteousness they tend to seek profit, pride and glory which goes against God’s Word. They become man pleasers in this perverse generation that goes against His will.
C. The Rebellion Of Korah Numbers 16
This rebellion was not against mankind but against God’s will and His appointed servants. When there is no truth in the hearts of man, they tend to go against the ministry of the Holy Spirit and establish an impure grace. God promise to remove the lampstand of the churches that disrespects the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
In the bible, Apostle Paul identifies grace as Jesus Himself. Titus 2:11. Grace without the truth which is in Christ is not of God’s will. Let us establish the meaning of true grace and what it does for us who are born again correctly in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.
- True Grace Secures And Keep Us In Christ Jude 1:1
Today, grace seems to be an outward element that people seek to keep with the notion that they are saved in Christ. However, the Bible clearly states that true grace is only experienced by those who are correctly saved by the Truth of the Gospel Word. True grace secures our salvation and keeps us in Christ until the day we return to the Kingdom of God.
- True Grace Liberates Us From The Slavery Of Sin Rom 6:6
God’s grace in our lives is for us to walk in true freedom in Christ. There are many who assume that they have freedom or some sort of peace with God that they merely make up for themselves. True grace causes the body of the flesh to be inactive and ineffective to the slavery of sin so that we might live in the Righteousness of God. This empowers us to serve God with all that we are.
- True Grace Gives Us Peace And Love In Christ Jude 1:2
Grace is not found through our own efforts but it is given in abundance when we are in Christ. The Bible says God gives peace, mercy and love for those who are in Christ. This is not an outward experience but it’s about our spiritual well-being. God gives serenity to those who walk closely with Him. This experience is priceless and no amount of human endeavor can replace it.
- True Grace Strengthens Us 2 Cor 12:9
God is not expecting us to walk in perfectness and there is no necessity to pretend or impress Him. The Bible portrays many imperfect servants whom God used mightily even in their weaknesses and shortcomings. When we understand that our qualification is in Christ, God’s grace works fully in us. The grace of God is sufficient for us in all situations. We must trust, rely and cling to Christ in order to walk even in our weaknesses and vulnerability. It is in moments like this that the power of Christ manifest and works fully in us.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb 4:16
Heb 4:16 declares on how a true believer in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection can approach the throne of grace with confidence? The passage also says who is qualified to enter the throne of grace? Who sits on the throne of grace? Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior! At NCCkl, we are grateful to God Who qualified us to receive true grace by faith in the Righteousness of God. Now we can come boldly to the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace in times of need.
The word ‘throne’ depicts a seat for a King. The word ‘grace’ means underserved, unearned and unmerited favor given by God. When we put the words together, ‘throne of grace’ it implies a seat for a King that shows mercy and favor. Generally, people look to someone who is great, capable of providing and protecting in times of need. As for us true believers, it is none other than God Almighty Who existed before mankind.
For the Jews, He is called Yahweh or ‘I AM WHO I AM’
Exo 3:14-15. When Moses encountered the Lord God of their fathers, he proclaimed Him as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Exo 34:6-7 The Lord God was merciful, gracious and abounding in goodness and truth, showed mercy for thousands, forgiving their iniquities and transgressions. When Law was given to Moses, none of them could fulfil the Law. In fact, even Moses, the meekest man, failed miserably in Numbers 20: 8-12.
God is Holy and cannot tolerate sin as described in Isa 59:1-2. However, God demonstrated His mercy to the Israelites by giving through Moses the sacrificial system found in the Tabernacle. When Israel sin, they can be restored by keeping the sacrificial system. This sacrificial system found in the Tabernacle foreshadows how God intends to show His mercy and grace to all mankind through His Son in the New Covenant. John 1:14-16
However, when God sent His Son, by His mighty words and works and fulfilling all the prophecies according to the Scriptures, there were still disputes and unbelief.
Through the Scriptures on 3 occasions, God testified and proclaimed Jesus Christ as His beloved Son.
- Jesus’ Baptism Matt 3:17; Mk 1:11; Lk 3:22; John 1:18
- Jesus’ Transfiguration Matt 17:2-5; Mk 9:5-7; Lk 9:33-35
- Jesus’ Triumphal Entry John 12: 28-30
How To Enter God’s Throne Of Grace By Faith
- Faith in Christ Heb 11:6; Gal 3: 26-27)
God saw spirit of faith abiding and prevailing in Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Heb 11:6 On our part we must believe that Jesus is the Sent One Who came to fulfil the Law. Jesus accomplished God’s plan to redeem mankind through His baptism, death and resurrection. John the Baptist who came with the spirit and power of Elijah and prepared the way for the Lord of glory to fulfil all righteousness. Luke1:17; Matt 3:15 Only one who believes and baptised in Christ can enter boldly into the throne of grace. Now, God sees us as His Son Jesus Christ because we are united with Him just like Paul described in Gal 3:26-27.
- Hope in Christ Heb 5:5-6; 7:21,22
Jesus Christ is our High Priest after the order of Mel-chiz’edek, seated at the right hand of the throne of grace. He is forever interceding and intervening on our behalf before God so that we can stand in the presence of God in Christ. Jesus Christ sympathizes with us as He was tempted, tested and tried as we are to help us in times of need.
- Love in Christ Rom 5:2 ; 1 John 5:14-15
We can rejoice even in tribulation because we know God’s love for us and His presence is always there to comfort. We can request or pray directly to God through our Lord Jesus Christ at all times. All our wrath and sin have been appeased through Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection because Jesus is the perfect offering on our behalf. We are now justified and secured in Christ.
NCCkl is the place where we can grow in grace and truth. We ought to keep hearing by faith in the Gospel Truth to be born again and to be strengthened in the grace in all its truth.
John 1:17 ‘For law was given to Moses, grace (unearned ,undeserved favor and spiritual blessing) and truth came through Jesus Christ.’
What Is Grace?
Far too often we use the word ‘grace’ carelessly and conveniently without really knowing the meaning of it. We always hear something like 10 minutes grace period when we enter into a car park or delivered from something or receive protection.
According to the Bible, grace simply means undeserved or unmerited favor from God. It is not something we did to earn it but an undeserved gift from God when we believe in His Righteousness. In other words, we don’t have to work for it.
What Is Truth?
Truth is simply the Righteousness of God. Righteousness of God is simply about what God has done to save mankind from sin and reconcile us to Himself. The Righteousness of God consists of His baptism (sin was passed to Jesus), death (paying the wages of sin) and resurrection (a new creation or new life) .
What Keeps Us Away From The Grace Of God?
In Ephesians 2:1-5, the Word says, when Adam and Eve sin against God, sin entered their life and they were spiritually dead to God. Today, for those who have not believed in the Righteousness of God (Truth), their spirit continue to remain dead to God and they become an enemy of God. They are controlled by the demon spirit and live to gratify their fleshly desires. Hence, we all once by nature were children of God’s wrath and we don’t deserve the grace of God.
What Causes Us To Deserve The Undeserved Favor Of God?
Philippians 2:7-9; Romans 3:24; Romans 3:28; Galatians 3:9
God being God Who is so rich in mercy sent His own Son Jesus Christ into the world in the form of human to take our sins upon Himself, subsequently died and rose once for all so that whoever believes in His baptism, death and resurrection will be declared sinless and righteous by faith to have the right standing with God. They will then receive the undeserved favor of God (grace) without working for it. God will become their Father and we will become the children of God.
The Benefits Of Experiencing The Grace Of God
The more we know we are forgiven, the more we are able to forgive others. The less we know we are forgiven, the less we will be able to forgive others. In Acts 7:60, at the point of death, Stephen was able to forgive those who stoned him by asking the Father to forgive them.
We serve the Lord not trying to gain favor and to be rewarded or have our salvation intact but rather it is because we experience the grace of God. Just as James 2:17 says, ‘faith without works is dead.’ We just cannot remain dormant and not serve God when we are experiencing His grace. Grace will stir our hearts to serve Him with passion.
At one time we could have been stingy or calculative but now the spirit of generosity flows mightily in our lives. We do not need to be manipulated to give but giving will just become our lifestyle. Acts 2:45; Acts 4:32,34-35
- Not Judgmental
When we experience the grace of God, we will realise that there is nothing good in us apart from Christ. In fact, we are just filthy rags saved by the mercy and grace of God. When we know this, we become less judgmental towards others. When we are less judgmental, we can accept people for who they are. We will not be judgmental like the Pharisees as recorded in Luke 18:11-12.
Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life”
It is imperative to understand that the heart is the source of our life. In fact, everything that we do with our life flows from it. The heart is to be guarded and protected because it can be under constant attack from the evil one. Furthermore, our own thoughts and emotions can torment and deceive our own hearts.
Since the beginning of time, when Adam fell, God cursed the ground, which also implies men’s heart. In Gen 3:17 God said “Ground is cursed for your sake, and in toil you shall eat of it”. Men lost the harmonious relationship that they once had with God. Ever since then, this estrangement brought restlessness and men lost peace with God.
When Noah was born to Lamech, the 10th generation from Adam, Lamech remembered the curse that has befallen men and named his son Noah implying ‘rest’ or ‘comfort’. In Genesis 5:29, Lamech was thinking that it was a physical rest that he would get since his son can help him to ease the pain of labour that has befallen men but God saw more than that.
Through Noah’s Ark, God has hidden secret mysteries on how to attain true rest once again in the Ark of Salvation that is in Christ through faith in the righteousness of God.
1. Pitched Inside And Outside Genesis 6:14
“Make yourself an ark of gopher wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.”
The pitch simply means a covering which was used to cover the inside and outside of Noah’s ark so that water would not have access into the Ark. Today, it implies that, if we want true rest for our hearts, our hearts should be covered and guarded inside out with the Righteousness of God. True rest are for the ones who have the faith in Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection correctly embedded in their hearts. This will enable them to walk into the presence of God in the full assurance of faith that if God is for us, who can be against us. correctly embedded in their hearts. This will enable them to walk into the presence of God in the full assurance of faith that if God is for us, who can be against us.
.2. Saved And Kept Alive In Christ Genesis 6:20b
“..two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.”
Nowadays many are very restless. This lead them to seek their needs everywhere hoping to find a solution in the world. However, this condition was allowed by God so that they may seek Christ Who is the true rest. This rest can come into our hearts when we believe the finished work of Christ through His baptism, death and resurrection. To keep one alive and rested in Christ, it is important to have continuous growth through learning, fellowship and desiring to be equipped in the Word of God. A rested heart is one that seeks and thirst for the Righteousness of God. At NCCkl, not only you can be saved from eternal death but also kept alive until the revelation of Christ.
3. God Is In Control Genesis 6:16
“You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.”
Only a heart that is rested in God knows that God is in control of everything that happens in one’s life. When situation in life seems challenging and trials come our way, we can lean, rely, stay confident and trust in God. In his generation, Noah was the only one believing in the Word of God. Noah was not shaken or fearful of what is going to happen, but only believed that no matter what the circumstances may be, God will be able to rescue and deliver him. The window in the ark was above simply because it is God’s intent that Noah’s eyes may be fixed on Him alone at all times.
4. Peace Of God Philippians 4:6-7
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
For those who are always experiencing God’s rest, they can be rest assured that God is hearing their prayers, desires, requests. God will answer them according to His will at the right time. Many have the world’s peace that can be deceiving or fleeting. However, when disaster strikes they are not able to withstand on their own. Finally, hearts that are rested truly in the Word of Righteousness will have the peace of God that can overcome all things in Christ.
In Rom 2:29, Paul explains about the circumcision of heart in the spiritual and not the literal sense.
Circumcision in the literal sense was important for the Jews as portrayed in the Old Testament. This was an outward sign of being set apart for God. However, in the New Testament, in Phil 3:3 Paul defines true circumcision. “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
We thank God for NCCkl, for we who are born of water and the Spirit of Christ can truly enjoy worshipping God in Spirit and Truth.
Let us examine and gather what the Old and the New Testament has to say about circumcision.
Circumcision of the Flesh Gen 17:10-25; Jer 4:4; 9:13; 24:25
God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham of which circumcision was the seal. Acts 7:8 It was passed down to the Israelites and till today it is still practiced. Genesis 17:10-25 It is customary for Jews to circumcise male babies on the 8th day. An uncircumcised person’s soul will be ‘cut off’ from his people. Only the circumcised can partake the Passover Meal. In Joshua 5:2-5, the Lord commanded Joshua to circumcise those who were born in the wilderness.
What is the spiritual implication of circumcision?
From the above verses, we can see the Spirit behind the Word of God. Circumcision is the sign of the covenant between God and Abraham as a reminder of what God promised him which he accepted by faith.
When Joshua and Caleb’s generation occupied the Promised Land, the Israelite were enjoying peace and prosperity. However, the following generations did not experience the work of God but were merely observing the rituals that they were told to keep.
In the book of Jeremiah, God warned the people that though they were circumcised but their hearts are turned away from the God of Abraham as they did wicked and sinful things. God allowed their neighbors to attack and laid waste their land for they pride over their own ability of keeping the Law but failed to fulfill it.
As born again children of God, we must take heed of the above not to take matters lightly. Though we are saved, we can sway away from God and slowly detach ourselves from the church and end up living like unbelievers.
Circumcision of the Heart Rom 2:25-29; 3:30; 4:10,12;Col 2:11 Phil 3:3
When we believe in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection, Christ can spiritually cut our inner selves and give us a new heart. By faith in Christ only can one approach God who is holy. It has nothing to do with our outward privileges or positions, external appearances, eloquence or beauty, physical advantages or performance. At His baptism, John the Baptist represented the world and passed our sins (past, present and future) on to Jesus by the laying on of hands and He was judged at the cross.
We thank God for NCCKL, where the Truth, that is the Gospel of God’s Righteousness is preached to set us free for those who take heed, obey and apply what we have learned in our lives. Circumcision hurts but we will rise up to be great warriors of the Lord. In His Spirit, we shall speak with fearless confidence of His marvelous great works.
NCCKL is also a platform for young and old who can avail themselves to be part of the Body of Christ by serving or participating in the various ministries and activities so that we can be united as family in Christ who understand our Father’s heart.
……….while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 1 Peter 3:20
Number 8 in the Bible represents a new beginning. a new order or new creation. As the number 7 means completion, 8 stands for new in contrast with old.
As we celebrate NCCkl’s 8th anniversary, it is my hope and prayer that we will be drawn closer to God. Furthermore, our faith in the Righteousness of God will increase as we realize that only God can give us fullness and satisfaction. 8 is found 193 times in the Bible. It is the first day of the new week that unfolds new opportunities and possibilities.
I would like to list down a few thoughts pertaining to the number 8 even as we celebrate our 8th anniversary. The spiritual significance of the number 8 is immense. Numerology is the study of dates and numbers. Throughout history whether it was biblical, cultural or historical, numbers hold great significance. The number 8 is a special number that depicts “New Beginning!”
- New Life 2 Cor 5:17; Eph 2:10
In Gen chap 1 & 2, God created Heaven and earth in 6 days. The Bible then says that on the 7th day, God said it is now complete and He blessed the day and sanctified it. However, the 8th day was the brand new beginning for Adam in the garden and was given authority to rule over the material world. Today, we who are in Christ have been given the authority to rule over the spiritual world through the victory attained for us by Christ baptism, death and resurrection.
- New Heart Gen 17:12; Col 2:11-12; Rom 2:28-29
In the NT our Savior of the world was born in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes. However it took 8 days for it to be officially recorded that His Name was Jesus and it was on the same 8th day that He was circumcised which created a brand new beginning for Christianity and the world. If we are baptized into Christ our Savior, we can die to our old life and be born again to an ever living hope and life in Christ. The number 8 symbolizes circumcision of the heart through Christ and the receiving of the Holy Spirit for empowerment and abundant life.
- New Virtues Exo 34:22, Deut 16:10
Between the holidays of Passover and ‘Shavout’ we count 7 weeks. During these weeks the Jews endeavor to work by perfecting their 7 emotions namely love, fear, compassion, ambition, humility, bonding and receptiveness that has been undermined due to their fallen nature. One emotion per week. At the completion of these 7 weeks they are supposed to be sufficiently perfected to be worthy of receiving the Torah on ‘Shavout’. This ritualistic endeavor never truly brought perfection to their virtues until Christ absolute finished work through His baptism, death and resurrection. In the New Covenant, after the 7th week, on the 50th day (Pentecost) the Holy Spirit was poured upon all flesh. The believers in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection receive the Holy Spirit to bring true meaning of the 7 emotions in Christ.
- New Perfection 1 Sam 16:1-12; Lev 8:31-36; Lev 9:1-2
7 symbolizes perfection – that is achievable via natural means. 8 symbolizes that which is beyond nature and its perfection. Likewise, God created the world and its natural order in 7 days. 8, on the other hand is symbolic of an entity that is one step above the natural order, higher than nature and its limitations. David was the 8th son of Jesse. Aaron and his sons were consecrated 7 days and then their ministry began on the 8th day. Consecration means the act of setting apart or dedicating something or someone for God’s use. NCCkl is ripe for such perfection in Christ for His glory.
- New Celebration Lev 23:36; John 4:
The Feast of Tabernacle lasted for 7 days but on the 8th day “Holy Convocation” was to be held. Holy Convocation is a sacred assembly of calling together the people of Israel for rest and worship. NCCkl celebrates Holy Communion, the love feast among the family of God by breaking bread to attain true rest in Christ.
In conclusion, NCCkl’s 8th anniversary prepares us for a great outpouring of blessings. I believe it is going to be a year of “New Beginnings” for us to achieve what we thought was unachievable, to believe what we thought was unbelievable and to conquer what we thought was unconquerable in Christ !!
And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. Rom 11:6
Grace is the heart of the Gospel. It is the gift of God’s Righteousness that saves a sinner. The word ‘righteousness’ has become a religious cliché that has lost its meaning to many people. Even Christians are confused about what righteousness is and how to receive it. At NCCkl, we believe that apart from God’s righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection, there is no salvation. ‘Righteousness’ and its counterpart ‘righteous’ appear 540 times in 520 verses of the Bible.
Righteousness is the condition of being in right relationship with the Lord.
This can only happen through total faith and dependence upon Christ finished work through His baptism and death. There is no other way and there is nothing we can add to our faith to obtain right relationship with the Lord.
Let us turn our attention to the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14 to comprehend, conform and communicate God’s gift of righteousness to a sinner.
1. Comprehend – establishing in the true faith
Establishing ourselves in the true faith demands a proper understanding of true repentance. This is crucial for one to be born again correctly into the Kingdom of God. Acts 3:19 A lack of knowledge or ignorance of God’s Righteousness will lead one to establish his own righteousness to obtain salvation. Rom 10:3 Right relationship with God is a result of obedience to the faith in the Righteousness of God established in the fact that Jesus received our sins through the laying on of hands by John the Baptist. Jesus subsequently died for our sins by bleeding to death and rose from the dead to justify our righteousness of faith in His finished work. It is imperative to know one cannot obtain salvation by his own thoughts, action or wisdom. Rom 5:19
2. Conform – progressing in the true faith
It is important for us to know how to walk in Christ after being born again of the water and Spirit. After being born again, there is only one life to live, that is, life in the Holy Spirit. Once we internalize this truth in our hearts, Christ can live in and through us at all times. This momentary awareness causes our hearts to conform to His will and brings supernatural transformation to our lives. Such renewal happens to us without our conscious act of trying to live for God. Col 2:6-7 We ought to build up our faith in Christ because this walk is a journey of life time. Make no mistake, there is no instant growth. Growing in the Gospel of Righteousness is a continual process that requires us to learn, acquire, understand and comprehend the revelation knowledge of Christ. The Word of righteousness must always remain the substance of faith that we are rested on.
3. Communicate – effective way to communicate the true faith
True believers in the Gospel of Righteousness are called to be ministers of reconciliation. It is our priority to serve God’s righteousness to the lost. Unfortunately, most Christians have lost the focus when communicating the Gospel of Righteousness. Instead of preaching God’s Righteousness that saves one by grace through faith, they demand righteousness from a bankrupt sinner. Nowadays, not only the Gospel is distorted, the supposedly ministers who communicate the Gospel are only interested in what they can gain and profit out of someone. The message of the true Gospel is unchanging and God is not holding any man accountable for sin. It is the unbelief of the Gospel of Righteousness that God is against.
At NCCkl, we are well equipped to be competent ministers for God to administer the grace of salvation by preaching the simple Gospel of Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection. For everyone who believes, the gift of righteousness is imputed freely by grace through faith in Christ finished work.
In conclusion, the gift of righteousness produces a changed heart that, in turn, changes our actions. Actions cannot change our heart. It is the heart of man that God looks at. 1 Sam 16:17 We must be righteous in our heart to truly worship God. John 4:24
And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them. I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. Gen 6:13-14
It is important to know that the only way to defend our hearts and minds in Christ is to place our faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness which contains Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.
According to the passage above, our Lord said that He would wipe out the faithless generation that did not believe in God’s Righteousness. In reality, it is evident that even this world is heading towards its destruction.
In the days of Noah, the earth was filled with the wickedness of man, likewise this present age is also filled with wickedness. In particular, false beliefs are plaguing today’s Christian faith. These days believers who are not born again of the Gospel of God’s Righteousness are adhering to mistaken beliefs that challenges the righteousness of God that brings salvation to man.
Let us turn to Genesis 6:13-14 to find out what are the spiritual elements required to ensure that the way of salvation in God’s Righteousness is not undermined :
1. Building Our Faith On The Unchanging Word
In verse 14, God told Noah to build an ark of ‘gopherwood’. Of the countless trees in this world, why did God specifically instruct Noah to build the ark with ‘gopherwood’? Spiritually speaking, ‘gopherwood’ implies the unchanging Word of God. God’s Word is always unchanging and upright. The trunk of ‘Gopherwood’ never bend and its leaves never turn yellow under any circumstances. It is absolutely indispensable for us to believe in God’s Word that saves us under all circumstances. God told Noah to build the ark to protect him from the impending judgment. If Noah had not built the ark despite finding the grace of the remission of sins – that is, if he had not done God’s work, then he would have been judged by God. At that time, even though Noah was living in the world filled with iniquities, he was saved by grace. Noah became just, perfect and blameless in his generation. Just as Noah became a just man by finding grace from God, we too have become sinless people through God’s grace of salvation by believing in the pure Word of God. Like Noah, we must diligently build the Church by serving the Gospel to stay alive until the Lord returns.
2. Defending Our faith In The Righteousness Of God
The righteous must defend their faith in the Righteousness of God. In Chap 6:8-9, the Bible alludes that because Noah rested on God’s Word, he received the grace of salvation. Noah was declared just and perfect by the gift of grace. Through faith in the Word of Righteousness we too have found grace and received perfect remission of sins. However, we are still living in a world that is evil and corrupt. Therefore, even the righteous could be defiled by sin. As a result, the only way for the righteous to avoid the judgment of God is to abide in God’s Church and always meditate on Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection, thus affirming that our hearts are indeed sinless. When carnal desires rise up in our hearts, how can our hearts be justified and be cleansed? We can be cleansed only by placing faith in the grace of salvation that has remitted away all our sins. There is no other way but to stand on the unshakeable Word of Righteousness.
3. Upholding Our faith In The Perfect Salvation
In verse 14 “….cover it inside and outside with pitch“ implies that no condemnation and guilt can enter the heart of the righteous. God ensured that not a drop of the water of judgment could seep into the ark. In this age, if we have indeed received the remission of our sins by believing in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness, then we must build the ark in our heart, which is a shadow of God’s Church. God told Noah to make an ark and cover it inside and outside with pitch, likewise we also can avoid the water of judgment by believing in our perfect salvation. It is God’s will that His righteous children are spared from wrath and punishment by covering themselves with the pitch of salvation. All the sins we commit in our lifetime with our hearts and body have been perfectly washed away by Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection. We cease to exist to sin and raised unto righteousness. God has given His righteous children an answer of good conscience towards Him through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Pet 3:18-21