“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
This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. 2 Tim 2:11
It is imperative for us at NCCkl to recognize that God created man to live lives focused on Him. God’s intent from the very beginning was that we should be ‘God conscious’ not ‘self conscious.’ In fact, until Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were so unconscious of self that they did not even consider their own nakedness. However, after their disobedience, they became fully aware of themselves and wanted to hide from God. Their focus had shifted from God to self. This is where Satan wants us to be so that he can have a field day with us.
One of the greatest blessing found in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprise Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection is the provision to have constant awareness of God’s divine presence within us by being ‘God conscious.’
Instead, ‘self-conscious’ causes one to experience grief and suffering induced by the evil one.
Let us examine some of the negative effects caused by ‘self-consciousness’ :
1. ‘Self-Consciousness’ Causes Unpleasant Relationship Issues
When we focused on self, it is easy to be offended. If we are experiencing bitterness, hurt or anger in our relationship with someone, our minds become the tool box for the evil one to create havoc. The reason we are so easily hurt or offended is that we are still alive to self. Gal 2:20 The correct way to deal with self is to shift our focus. Love and forbearance for another person will always overcome self. Our ultimate focus has to be on God and not ourselves, It is only when we are surrendered to God that we can overcome our struggles caused by ‘self-consciousness.’
2. ‘Self-Consciousness’ Causes Low Self Esteem
‘Self-consciousness’ leads one to have low self-esteem that causes self to dominate our thoughts. They become focused on what other people may think if they say or do something wrong. To protect self, they become timid, shy and introvert. This would hinder their faith and service to God.
3. ‘Self-Consciousness’ Causes Financial Issues
‘Self-consciousness’ leads to self-centeredness which is the root of all grief. Financial problems arises when we try to live above our means, attempting to fulfill self-centered desires. It is important to have right perspective. If we are miserable or unhappy over the fact that we don’t have a bigger home, a new car or a wide screen television, something is wrong.. It is not that I am against prosperity – I am not. It is our self-centeredness resulting from ‘self-consciousness’ that turn our want into a need and then that need into a crisis.
Now, let us examine some of the positive effects caused by ‘God-consciousness’ :
- ‘God-consciousness’ leads to contentment. Matt 6:33 God has already promised that our needs are met in Him and that they will be added to us as a by-product of seeking His Kingdom first.
- ‘God-consciousness’ enables us to agree with what God’s Word says about who we are and do what God’s Word says to us to do.
- ‘God-consciousness’ produces constant realization of His divine Presence.
- ‘God-consciousness’ enables us to enjoy constant fellowship and companionship.
- ‘God-consciousness’ drives out all kinds of fears because we are secured in Him.
- ‘God-consciousness’ causes us to desire to please God in a greater measure and stay away from temptation.
- ‘God-consciousness’ produces a lifestyle of overflowing thankfulness.
- ‘God-consciousness’ eradicates sin-consciousness.
For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.
1 Thess 1:5
It is pertinent to know and understand what is ‘rhema’. What is ‘rhema’? It is a Greek word which means ‘the spoken Word.’ It is Holy Spirit speaking directly to our born again spirit because spirit can only communicate with Spirit. John 4:24
‘Rhema’ is a particular word that the Holy Spirit brings to remembrance for a specific purpose.
In the Bible, the written Word is also known as ‘logos’ which is the expressed will or mind of God.
For the born again in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness, which constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection, the spirit is a driving or life giving power. As such, we must have spiritual understanding of ‘rhema’ because God’s Word is spirit and life. Our minds are actually the battleground. Our spirits are complete and our souls will do what they are told. However, our soulish parts which include our intellect have the responsibility to choose or exercise our free will. In a sense, a person’s soul is the master control over our whole person.
How do we allow the written Word (logos) to become ‘rhema’ in our spirit to be made alive and powerful?
1. The Power Of Meditation
Often we get so hungry to learn God’s Word that we don’t take sufficient time to let ‘the mind of Christ’ in our spirit man to give us a full disclosure of the power that is in these words. Only the Word which has been mixed with faith that comes from our spirit man will profit us. We could be better off with only a small amount of the Word in us if it was a true revelation from God than having a vast amount of scripture with only carnal understanding. Therefore, it is necessary that we get this ‘mind of Christ’ functioning in our soulish minds so that we can make right choices. This is solely done by meditating on the Word of God. God’s Word is the wisdom of God. 2 Cor 3:6 denotes that the mere knowledge of God’s Word is not enough. When the knowledge of God’s Word enters our soulish minds through meditating, our spirits bear witness with the truth and imparts wisdom to apply knowledge.
This explains why the Word of God seems to work for some people and not for others. On the surface it may appear that all know the Word but in truth, only those who meditate on it had the Word of God made alive on the inside of them through revelation knowledge .
2. The Power Of Revelation Knowledge
A true revelation of God’s Word is the single most important element of a victorious Christian life. One of the most needed things in the life of those born again of the water and Spirit is the revelation knowledge of the Word of God. God’s Word works! God sent His Word to save, sanctify, heal and deliver us from this present wicked age and world order. If we have the true revelation of God’s Word in our hearts, we can overcome the power of Satan and the lust of the world.
To understand what revelation knowledge is and how to get it functional in our life, we have to know at least some of the basics of our spirit, soul and body. Our spirit is the part of us that was changed at salvation. Our body and soul did not automatically become totally new. They can be changed and renewed as we grow in the Lord, it is a continuing process. Revelation knowledge will not profit our physical or soulish parts until we learn to meditate, ignite and release God’s spoken Word from our spirit man.
Revelation knowledge was evident in the lives of the early disciples even though they did not have the complete Word of God that we have today. They did not have the OT and the NT Scriptures readily available but only through the revelation knowledge of God’s spoken Word, they were able to transform their present day world. Unfortunately, revelation knowledge is missing today in the presentation and application of God’s Word among those who are not born of the water and Spirit. Carnal preachers have been putting out carnal knowledge to carnal people and therefore, the true power of God’s Word is not released.
We thank God that at NCCkl, God’s revelation knowledge of His spoken Word is flowing among those who are born again in the spirit. True believers will not be drawn to the popularity of a person, rather to the power of God’s Word, regardless of which vessel it comes through “for the Kingdom of God is not in word but in power.” 1 Cor 4:20. We can have revelation knowledge of God’s spoken Word Who has given us the “mind of Christ” 1 Cor 2:16.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Cor 5:17
It is imperative for us to understand how we are to live in the newness of life by faith after receiving the remission of sins in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness. We must accept the fact that our fleshly thoughts are fundamentally evil. As such, for our spiritual thoughts not to deteriorate, we must reside by faith in the Gospel Word of the water and Spirit.
As true believers in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness we must not lose sight of knowing who we are in the born again spirit.
Newness of life in Christ only manifest when we walk by faith in the Word.
Unfortunately, many have lost the spiritual focus on who they are in the spirit to enjoy newness of life in Christ. In fact, they continue to believe that they are sinners by nature – just the opposite of what the Bible teaches.
1. Newness in the spirit
It is true that we were all born sinners and had the nature of the devil working in us. Ps 51:5; Eph 2:2-3. However, when we are united by faith with Jesus baptism, death and resurrection, we become a new person in the spirit. This is not talking about our body. If we were a man before being in Christ, we are still a man afterwards, Our body does not change. Our soul which is what the Bible calls the mental-emotional part of us, does not automatically change either. It is subject to change but we have to renew the mind to experience newness in our mind and emotions. Nevertheless, in the spirit we have become a brand new species of being. Our spirit is totally new. There is no more an old sin nature left in us. Most Christians have a notion to believe that after salvation they are still the same at their core. As a result, they continue to live the rest of their lives trying to restrain their old nature. They assume they have two natures. This is schizophrenic! It produces believers who are nothing like Christ.
2. Newness in the soul
Paul dealt with this issue in Rom 6. He had so powerfully proved in the preceding chapters that God deals with us by grace through faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness. Furthermore, in Rom 6:2-3, Paul gave two reasons on how to live in the newness of life. “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein.” What a radical statement. This is not believed by the majority of believers today. They believe that they are alive to sin and it is with much effort, frustration and failure that they are to battle this sin nature the rest of their lives. That is not what Paul believed. Paul said that once we are baptized into Christ, we experience a death to our old sin nature. It is dead. Yes, as a Christian we still do sin. Paul made mention of sin in this very chapter and dealt with it in more detail in Rom 7. Our minds are similar to computers in the sense that they can be programmed. Once programmed, they will continue to function as programmed until we reprogram them. We were born in sin and our old sin nature programmed our minds how to be selfish, bitter, angry and lust etc. When we are born again, we become totally new in our spirits. This old nature has been completely changed. It is not in the process of becoming new, it is already as pure and perfect as Jesus. 1 John 4:17; 1 Cor 6:17; Eph 4:24. Paul called this newness of life as the resurrection life. Rom 6:5
3. Newness in the body
Paul alludes that we ought to know that our “old man is crucified with Christ” in order to experience the newness of our physical life. This is not something that is yet to happen or that has to happen over and over again. It is a done deal in our new born again spirit. We are dead to sin. Our sin nature is dead and gone but it left behind a body. The Spirit of God within us gives life to our mortal short lived perishable body as we abide in the Word. That body has a carnal mind. It will still function as programmed until we reprogram it. Our lives are transformed by the renewing of our minds. Rom 12:2 Therefore, victory in a true believer’s life is as simple as renewing our minds to who we are and what we have already received in Christ. It is not the struggle of two natures inside us. We are the way we think. Prov 23:7 If we see ourselves as old sinners, saved by grace, then we will continue to struggle with sin. However, when we see the total change that took place in our nature, we will manifest that change in our actions. The way we see ourselves become a self fulfilling prophecy. We are spirit beings who has a soul and lives in a body. God is a Spirit and he deals with us on the basis of who we are in the spirit. We worship God based on who we are in the spirit and not on who we are in our flesh in regard to how we act or feel.
By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child[a] when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. Heb 11:7-12
Here are four examples of how faith lives. First, Noah trusts God and builds an ark for the salvation of the household. Second, Abraham trusts God and leaves his homeland for an unknown place of promise. Third, Abraham trusts God and lives in tents instead of building a city with permanent foundation. Fourth, Sarah trusts God and conceives when she is barren and passed the age of child bearing.
These acts of faith are not ‘add-ons’ to saving faith. Yes, at NCCkl we who believe in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection are saved by grace through faith. More so, we are born again and have the indwelling Holy Spirit. However, saving faith is not a mere single act of receiving Jesus as our true Savior. Saving faith is a life of faith that goes on trusting Jesus. This Truth of salvation is clearly described in Heb 10:39 “But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.”
We must see what is at stake: shrinking back to destruction or pressing on to faith to preserve the soul. In other words, the evidence of authentic saving faith is its pressing on. Faith that saves from destructing and preserves the soul is future-oriented.
Let’s take our four examples of living by faith – the life that leads away from destruction and preserves the soul for eternity.
There is always a promised work of God. God speaks and promises that in the future He will do something. This is the object of our faith. We trust God that what He says will in fact happen. Verse 7 says “Noah was warned” by God about the impending flood. Verse 8 says that Abraham was “called” by God to leave his homeland. Verse 9 says that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were fellow heirs of a “promise” in which they are to inherit the ‘promised land’. Finally, verse 11 says that Sarah regarded God “faithful” Who had promised. Every life of faith is sustained by the Word of promise. Phil 4:17; John 15:5; Heb 13:5
2. Inner Response
In the life of faith there is an inner response of faith. There is an outer response but the inner response comes first and it is the very essence of our faith. The outer response is the fruit of the inner response. Without the inner life of faith, the outer acts are mere performance which Jesus calls hypocrisy and white washed tombs. Verse 7 says that Noah in “reverence” prepared an ark. This is an expression of an inner life of faith before the awesome Word of God. Verse 8 describes Abraham’s faith as “not knowing where he is going”, yet he set out. Verse 10 says that the reason Abraham lived in tents instead of building a city was that “he was looking for the city whose architect is God.” Faith focuses not on present reward and prosperity but on God and what He has promised to do. Then finally, verse 11 says that Sarah “considered” God faithful to keep His promises. Again God is the focus. The inner life of faith is a reverting focus on God Who is faithful.
3. External Response
The life of faith involves an external response, not just an internal one. Noah built an ark, imagine the ridicule he received. Abraham left a secure family and home. He choose to live in tents to show that he was looking for God’s promise at a proper time. Sarah, I presume, got the diapers and the crib ready. It doesn’t say….. Saving faith changes the way we live. Our life takes on a dimension that can only be explained by “the assurance of things hoped for” because we know that with God all things are possible.
The life of faith enjoys some measure of God’s reward now but not most of it. Noah was saved with his family but he was still awaiting the full blessing of righteousness when he died. Abraham found the “promised land” and prospered immensely but he still lived in tents and only saw in the future the “city of God.” Sarah had a miracle baby but the countless seed mentioned in verse 12 are to be realized in the future after her death. Faith tastes the blessings of God’s goodness now in this age but not most of it. There is so much more to be cherished in God’s time.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time…..” 1 Pet 1:3-12
It is imperative to establish our faith in the Righteousness of God that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection. This is to avoid insecurities of other types of faith that contradicts with the consistency of faith found in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness. The Righteousness of God is the anchor of our faith. When Peter wrote this letter, things were changing rapidly in the Early Church because of adverse trials and severe persecution. Believers were finding it increasingly difficult to live their faith. Even today it is not easy to lean our entire human personality with absolute trust and confidence in God’s wisdom, power and goodness without compromise.
What have we put our faith in? Where do we find a faith strong enough to make it through the storms of life? Peter knows how important it is to have faith that is anchored deep within us, a faith that will hold us during the storms of life. In 1 Peter 1:3-12, he helps us to gain some insight into how to live an authentic Christ centered faith anchored on God’s Righteousness in the midst of a perilous time.
1. Timeless Faith vs 3-5
The question is not if we have faith, everyone has faith. Some have faith in their intellectual ability, others in their physical abilities, skills, connections, friends, family and themselves. The question is where is our faith anchored? Sooner or later the storm of life will begin to blow and then the question becomes, will the anchor of faith hold. In vs 3-5, Peter gives us three reasons on why it is important to anchor our faith in the Righteousness of God.
a. Faith in the Righteousness of God is incorruptible because it is not set upon the things of this world.
b. Faith in the Righteousness of God is undefiled because it is built on the power of God that has defeated sin, flesh, world, Satan and death.
c. Faith in the Righteousness of God is unfading because it is established on the Word of Truth. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.
2. Tested Faith vs 6-9
Our faith must be anchored in the timeless nature of Christ’s Righteousness. This is no ordinary faith, it is a tested faith. Countless believers in the Bible have placed their faith in God’s Righteousness and found that the anchor holds. Even Peter greatly rejoiced when he was confronted with various trials in his lifetime.
a. Faith in the Righteousness of God is valuable like gold when it is tested by fire and brings the impurities to the surface. When the impurities are removed, our faith becomes more valuable and pure.
b. Faith in the Righteousness of God is revealing because it reflects our deeper knowledge of Jesus. Our lives will begin to reflect the image of Christ when it is further refined by grace in all its truth.
c. Faith in the Righteousness of God is centered on our love for Christ. Genuine faith is loving Christ even when we have not seen Him but still know that He exists in our hearts to assure our salvation in Him.
3. True Faith vs 10-12
How does what worked for Peter will work for us? Almost as if Peter anticipated our question, he writes about the faith of others in the Righteousness of God in these verses.
a. Faith in the Righteousness of God that offers salvation of grace was enquired, searched and carefully prophesized by the prophets of the OT through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It contains a message of hope, encouragement and promise from the Messiah.
b. Faith in the Righteousness of God is established upon the prophecies of the OT, a Savior would come and take away the sins of humanity once and for all through His baptism and death on the Cross.
c. Faith in the Righteousness of God is a fulfillment of what God has promised to accomplish through His Son Jesus. His baptism, death and resurrection will save all men. Even angels desires to look into them.
Dear friends, it is not a question whether we have a faith. It is not a question if the storms of life will come. It is the question, will our anchor of faith hold through the storms?
Only faith in the Righteousness of God is timeless, tested and true.
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Prov 4:23
‘Mind games’ is a series of deliberate actions or responses planned for psychological effect on another, typically for amusement or competitive advantage. We have all been on the receiving end of mind games and we have all experienced people who like to ‘test’ us and put us through the psychological mode. These people might be our colleagues, our friends or family members but in any case it can be just as frustrating and potentially damaging. However, the most subtle and elusive mind game that Satan plays on our mind can be spiritually devastating. Mind has great power to do good or evil. It has power to shape a person’s life and destiny. What we think about is what we are or what we do. The key to any kind of improvement in life is in the mind. The thinking controls the action. Our mind is what makes everything else work. If we don’t control and take ownership of our mind in Christ, someone else will.
Only the mind of Christ has the power to withstand Satan’s continuous assault.
We need the mind and the Spirit of Christ to stand against Satan’s fraudulence, stratagem and tricks of delusive glamour that he plays on one’s mind. Only the born again in Christ who have the faith in the Righteousness of God that constitutes Jesus’ baptism and death could possess the mind and Spirit of Christ to walk and serve God.
How do we deal with it and how can we get the upper hand? In Col chap 3 Paul admonishes the believers to set their mind on things above. It is time at NCCkl for elevation in our thinking, our understanding and our action to triumph over the ‘mind games’ we encounter daily.
- Elevation In Our Thinking Col 3:1-2
It is imperative for us to seek the things that are above. We cannot be passive about Jesus and His Kingdom. We need to be aware of what is happening above and what God has determined in His heart so that we can be effective ambassador in this perverse world. 2 Cor 5:20 Knowing and understanding what is taking place in the throne room of Heaven is not just a fanciful and theoretical supposition. We need to have sound mind in Christ for effective ministry of His saving grace. 2 Cor 3:8 We ought to exercise our thinking to be Kingdom minded by giving time, attention and effort on matters taking place in the heavenlies.
- Elevation In Our Understanding Col 2: 11-23
The passage preceding Chapter 3 give us an insight and understanding on why we need to elevate our understanding on the things that are above. In Col 2:11-13, the Word declares that we have been raised with Christ so that we are no longer subject to the futility of self righteousness. We cannot make ourselves righteous! No matter how much we attempt to disengage our bodily members and faculties from certain pleasures, value and priorities, it will only remain futile on our part. We need to remember that we have been crucified with Christ and have been buried with Him to baptism and raised together with Him into new life. We can only be righteous and blameless before God by faith in the absolute finished work of Christ through His baptism and death. Eph 2:4-7
- Elevation In Our Actions Col 3: 5-10
The faith in the Gospel Truth of God’s Righteousness that contains Jesus’ baptism and death is our only source of power to demonstrate Christ like virtues. This supernatural power is available for our practical life on a daily basis when we constantly set our minds on things above. Since we have ‘died’ with Christ and been buried with His baptism, we should put off the old carnal mind and put on the mind of Christ. This renewed image is gained by exercising our mind and affection on the things above where Christ is seated. Col 3:5-10 We should not try to live our spiritual life without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. For us who are born again, it is easier to live in a right standing relationship with God as long we set our minds on things above. Our body manifest what we harbor in our minds. Our life is hidden with Christ and the power of Jesus Christ leads us in all our thoughts and actions.
All of us are on our way, either to something that is infinitely better or to something that is infinitely worse. For a person outside Christ, this life is as good as it gets. However, for us whose faith is established in God’s Righteousness , our hardships and struggles are temporal before relishing a glorious future. Without Christ, this world is as near as you will get to Heaven. With Christ this world is as near as we will get to hell. It is better to endure hardship, sorrow and lack and be in Christ than to enjoy any life style we can imagine without Christ. Dear friends, let us diligently elevate our thinking, understanding and actions to deny any psychological effect on “mind games” induced by our adversary.
For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Cor 2:16
1 Cor 2:16 is a quotation from Isaiah 40:13 that Paul uses to make a statement concerning all believers that “we have the mind of Christ” which is the mind of God. This mind enables us to know the thoughts of God’s heart. This union is greater than the father and child relationship because God is able to relate to us through His Spirit. Thanks be to God, in NCCkl, we have the mind of Christ because our faith is established in the Righteousness of God that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.
It is important to recognize that man has body, soul and spirit. 1 Thess 5:23 The spirit of man died and ceased fellowship with God after the fall of Adam. Instead, man inherited the conscience of the knowledge of good and evil because of his disobedience. Gen 2:17
This caused the soul of man that consist of mind, emotion and will to merge with the body (5 senses) and not the spirit for God’s enlightenment and fellowship. Hence, the mind became mystified by the things of the world ruled by the Prince of the air. The Bible alludes that our minds were once futile, darkened and condemned. Rom 1:21,28 More so, Eph 2:3 and Col 1:21 states that we conducted ourselves in the lust of our flesh were alienated and became enemies in our mind by our wickedness as children of wrath.
Therefore, Acts 2:38 urges us to repent by changing our wills and purposes to accept the will of God and to be baptized for the release of our sins so that we shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Though Paul emphasized the subject of mind extensively in all his epistles but today let me draw your attention to 1 Cor 2: 5-16 to discover “how to have the mind of Christ?”
- Christ Centered Faith 1 Cor 2:5
Our faith should not be based on men’s wisdom that consists of self righteousness, good deeds, monetary indulgence, gradual sanctification thru penitence etc. It should rather be based on the Word of God that created us in order to experience the power of God. The Word came down with perfect Spirit that consists a pure conscience, good intuition and sound spiritual mind for true fellowship with God as a perfect replacement for those who are willing to unite with Him at His baptism (all sins past , present and future were passed thru John the Baptist), death (the wages of sin is paid) and resurrection (where the power of God is released). Jesus died and rose again to give life to the spiritually dead. Only true believers who search the Word of God and are grounded with the understanding of the Gospel of God’s Righteousness are able to share their faith with others.
- Christ Centered Mind 1 Cor 2: 6-12
Once we are united with God’s Spirit (Christ’s Mind) we are able to test the spirits whether they are from God. 1 John 4:1 This is because false prophets have gone out into the world to deceive many through their corrupt and evil ways.
However, we are able to discern and comprehend when we are united with Jesus Who is the Wisdom of God.
Proverbs 8:1 states that we have both skillful and godly wisdom to enjoy true fellowship with God in this perverse world.
To the wise people in the world, this may be foolishness but to us who believe, we are able to experience the power of God through His mercy and grace in our daily lives. As for us who are born again, to sustain our faith lives, we must constantly be involved in the church life to overcome the evil attacks of our mind. This is because we still have two minds, the mind of the spirit and the mind of the flesh.
- Christ Centered Spiritual Blessings 1 Cor 2: 13-14
When we have the Holy Spirit through the finished work of Christ, we receive a pure conscience with our hearts sprinkled from evil and our bodies washed with pure water. Heb 10:22 We can then have the mind of Christ to enjoy all spiritual things because the Holy Spirit aligns with the Spirit of God. We can express sincere love and do good works. As we grow stronger in our faith in NCCkl, we are able to touch our loved ones and the world around us. However, just knowing the Truth is not enough to experience God’s power but by constant application of the Truth in our daily lives, we will be able to see the desired results in due season. In Christ, we can do all things and demonstrate divine forbearance.
Let us be fully involved in NCCkl in order to present ourselves as one perfected and prospering in Christ centered faith, mind and spiritual blessings. “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” Col 2: 6-7
By Peter Loke
“7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” 9 (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first[b] descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
Eph 4: 7-10
There are many true believers who are sincere about wanting to live an upright life in Christ. Unfortunately, due to lack of knowledge in the Word, many depend on self effort to change themselves. True change only comes about when we are born again by faith in the Righteousness of God that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.
When one repents correctly and establishes his/her faith in the Righteousness of God, the transformation becomes supernatural. To many Christians, repentance refers to having an altar call where people come forward and weep to get right with God. In actual fact, the word repentance means ‘re’ to go back and ‘pent’ means top. Repentance means to go back to God’s perspective on reality.
Supernatural transformation renews our intellect, emotions and will so that we are able to experience the Kingdom power.
Without proper repentance and faith in the Righteousness of God, one would remain locked into carnal ways of thinking.
How To Experience Supernatural Transformation?
Let us glean Eph 4:7-10 to identify three principles that involves a life that is transformed supernaturally by God’s Righteousness.
- All Believers In God’s Righteousness Can Transform v7
To every true believer, Jesus gives spiritual capacity and ability for change through the indwelling Holy Spirit. He works in us according to His power so that we can become a conduit of His goodness in the lives of others. God re-wires our inner being so that we are channels through whom He can work. This supernatural empowerment enables us to strengthen, encourage and guide others. When we are spiritually transformed by His grace through faith in His Righteousness, God causes us to be effective and significant impact for Jesus’ sake. Jesus acts out of His own generosity, exactly tailoring His gift of grace to fit our personality. This serving grace will not be a strain on us. It meshes with our unique personality to bring about God’s glory and great joy in our life. True transformation occurs from inside out.
- Believers’ Transformation Is Secured By Jesus v8-10
Verse 8 takes us to an OT quotation from Psalms 68. It bases on God’s eternal intention to give the gifts of grace to each believer through Christ. We cannot understand what this verses means in Eph 4:8-10 unless we grasp what Psalms 68 meant in its context. David wrote it and drew from the knowledge of military strategy in celebrating the triumph of God over Israel’s enemies. Now, Paul in Eph 4:8-10 describes a procession led by Jesus. A tremendous battle has been won by our Lord. He took down the full force of the world’s sin, death and contended with the one behind both, Satan himself and his armies. In response to this, Col 2:15 tells us that God “disarmed the rulers and authorities.” A reference to a powerful triumph that disgraced the vanquished foe in public display. Jesus led in his procession, the shattered forces of the enemy. ‘He gave gifts to people’ means that Jesus gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to serve His Righteousness and Church.
- It Is Time To Act On The Truth
All of us have seen what happens when it rains hard. Water finds the path of least resistance by which to flow to the lowest point. How do you stop water from flowing down the path of least resistance? Unbelief. Only a lowly heart accepts God’s Word and acts on the Truth. We must be aware that all of us were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death. Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in the new way of life. Rom 6:3-4. Supernatural transformation takes place only in a heart that acts on the Truth that is planted in one’s heart.
Dear friends, the Christian life is truly a demonstration of a transformed life. It is God’s desire that at NCCkl supernatural transformation is evident in all our lives.
“40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher, say it.” 41 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” Lk 7:40-43
Jesus has forgiven our sins all at once through the Gospel of God’s Righteousness. Those who know and believe in it correctly by having faith in Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection cannot have sin in their hearts. It is because our Lord came to this world and received the baptism from John the Baptist and shed blood on the Cross in order to remit all the sins of the world once and for all.
According to the passage above, Jesus said that the one who have been forgiven much loves Jesus much. How about us when we look at ourselves in the light of this Word? How much sin have we been forgiven by God? Let us examine Luke 7:36-50 to gauge our understanding on this Truth of salvation.
1. The creditor forgave the debts of both debtors because neither had a way to pay off the debt.
2. There are two types of sinners. One like the notorious woman who believe with the faith that the Lord has blotted out all the sins once through His baptism and death. (debt of 500 denarii) The other like the Pharisee who remained a sinner even though he seem to live a holy life but have not received the perfect remission of sin. (debt of 50 denarii)
3. Both the woman and the self righteous Pharisee had such a tremendous debt of sin that they could never repay but the Lord had resolved it unilaterally by His grace and mercy.
4. The Lord is the Savior Who has blotted all the sins of the world regardless of how little or how great a sin one commits.
5. People see themselves just from their perspective and not from the standpoint of the Savior. We are all the same sinners whether we commit many sins or fewer sins. All sinners can receive the forgiveness of sins if they believe in the righteousness of God. The woman loved the righteousness of God more and received the forgiveness of 500 denarii of debt.
6. We at NCCkl, do not have sin because we believe like the woman that Jesus forgave all our sins. There is no alternative for us but to remain a sinner everyday if we do not believe in the baptism of Jesus and the blood on the Cross as our salvation.
7. No one can resolve the sins committed no matter how virtuous a life one has lived. God saved us from sin through the Word of Truth. We do not become righteous and sinless just because we profess somehow to be Christians. People are saved neither through their efforts nor through their sacrifice. God wrote off all sins of this woman because she had no ability to pay for her sins. God so loved us, He transferred our sins onto Jesus and made Him receive the judgment and death on our behalf.
8. Only people who have all their sins written off do God’s work from then on. They serve the righteousness of God. This woman also did God’s work as she poured the fragrant oil over Jesus’ feet for His baptism and the death to be spread through the world. Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever the Gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” Only those whose sins are written off by believing in God’s Righteousness can serve the Gospel.
We must acknowledge before the presence of God that we are also debtors who have committed 500 denarii of sin like this woman.
We have received the forgiveness of all our sins through the righteousness of God. Those who believe in the Gospel Truth give glory to God.
We thank God for bestowing grace to serve His Righteousness even in our weakness and shortcoming.
“For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Luke 18:25
In today’s passage, the Lord said “For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” It is so hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God that Jesus said that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich to enter the Kingdom. Does this then mean that there really is no one rich in Heaven? Is it useless for the wealthy to be saved from sin? No, in fact this passage has a spiritual meaning and so in reality, there are many rich people in this world who have received the remission of sins to enter Heaven by believing the Righteousness of God.
Let us glean Luke 18:18-27 to identify some of the misconception that hinders perfect salvation in Christ.
The Rich That The Lord Spoke Of Here Refers To Those Who Are Rich In Heart
The Word was actually spoken to the rich young man who had asked, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” This young man was a ruler whose faith was bound by his own acts. Listed below are some of his misguided notion about salvation and how it differs with the teaching of Jesus.
1. The rich young man saw Jesus just as one of those respected teachers in the world. That is why Jesus said, “No one is good but God.” In other words, Jesus made it clear that human beings are absolutely devoid of virtue. Jesus is God Almighty.
2. The rich young man claimed that he had kept all the commandments with his act. However, far from praising the man, our Lord said to him “you still lack one thing, give away your treasure to the poor.” The Bible says, the young man became very sorrowful for he was very rich. That is why Jesus said it is easier for a camel to enter a needle than one who is rich in his heart. Since his heart is filled with worldly things and carnal thoughts, the Gospel of God’s Righteousness cannot enter his heart.
3. The rich young man was rich in both his flesh and his acts. He was a self righteous man. It was foregone conclusion that this man would not accept Jesus as his Savior nor have his eyes open to recognize Him as such. How could the Gospel Word which proclaims that Jesus saved everyone through His baptism and death enter into a heart rich with its own righteous acts?
4. The rich young man thought he could eventually obtain eternal life if he did many good deeds and kept the Law. Jesus, in complete contrast, was the Savior Who had come to deliver those who know their sinful nature and therefore relied on the love of God and His Righteousness to be saved.
Everyone Is Always Insufficient In Both Body And Spirit
Everyone living in this world is completely devoid of any virtue. Jesus wanted the young man to know that only God is good and all men are fundamentally evil and grave sinners. The young man’s focus was laid else where, he was rich both materially and spiritually filled with self righteousness and hypocrisy.
Those whose hearts are rich with their own thoughts cannot enter Heaven just as no camel can go through the eye of a needle.
We Can Enter Heaven Only By Grace Through Faith In God’s Righteousness
The Lord preaches the message of hope saying that the things which are impossible with men is possible with God. No one can enter Heaven by relying on his own righteousness, virtues or by keeping the Law with his own acts. This means that no one can reach his salvation through his perfect acts, by not committing sin and keeping the Law.
However, the Bible says that this is possible with God. Having come to the earth, Jesus has saved us from all sins, original, personal and future sins – through the baptism He received at the Jordan River from John the Baptist and the blood He shed on the Cross. The covenant of promise made with our Lord is forever unchanging, so assured and secure, that once we realize the salvation of the Lord, we can’t help thanking Him all the days of our life.
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26
John 11 gives the account of the death of Lazarus as an example to explain the resurrection of the dead. The story developed here starts with three siblings who lived together, a brother named Lazarus and two sisters named Martha and Mary. It begins with Lazarus falling gravely ill and dying from it. Through this account our Lord is teaching us about the spiritual resurrection that is happening within us now and also about the bodily resurrection that is to take place at His Second Coming.
Let us glean what ‘The Lord of Resurrection’ intends to teach us through the death of Lazarus.
1. Like Lazarus, no one can be saved and sanctified for new life on his own without knowing and believing in the Word of God.
2. Like Lazarus, everyone will not simply cease to exist when we die but rather will be raised from the dead either to receive eternal life or face condemnation.
3. Like Lazarus, it is the will of God for us to die once in the flesh so that the resurrection power of God can be manifested for His glory.
4. Through the passage, we can see that our Lord was deeply saddened that people refuse to listen to His Word even though he personally had come to the earth to administer the Word of Truth.
5. Through the passage, the Lord intends to show His supernatural power to those who wants to see the glory of God.
6. True believers must always trust in the Righteousness of the Lord and rely in it until the day the life of our flesh expires. Resurrection of life cannot be attained by trying to keep the Law nor reached through human virtue or will power.
7. When Lazarus died, he was wrapped with grave clothes. When the Lord called him out, he walked out alive still wrapped and bound in these clothes. The implication here is that even if we are brought back to life through faith in our new life, unless the servants of God unwrap us, we will not be able to lead our life properly as righteous people.
8. Jesus emphasizes in the passage that He is the Resurrection of Life even now in our present life. In fact, true believers in the Righteousness of God can experience His resurrection power within us even now until we attain the spiritual body in the last days.
Dear friends, let us be reminded on this special occasion to live with hope of everlasting life and resurrection given by the Lord.
For God has given us not only salvation but also everlasting life, we will enjoy glory and splendor in Heaven.
The Lord through His thirty three years of life, taught us that we would die once and be resurrected. We should therefore stand firm in the Lord and devote ourselves even more to the work of the Lord. We must realize that our labor in the Lord will not be in vain. Blessed Resurrection Day!!