Faithfulness Is Better Than Life

But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”  Acts 20:24

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know that faithfulness is better than life.

Elects should count faithfulness to the calling of Christ as better than the comforts of life and as better than staying alive. 

In Acts 20:22-25, Paul talks about his future.  What Paul chooses to say is a powerful inspiration for the elects at NCCkl.  I would like to answer two questions using these verses as the basis for the answers.  What does it mean that faithfulness is better than life?  Why is faithfulness better than life?

1. What Does It Mean That Faithfulness Is Better Than Life?

a. Elects are bound by the Spirit to the will of God.   vs 22a

Faithfulness is better than life means being bound by the Holy Spirit to the will of God.  Paul is a man under strong conviction and constraint, his spirit is held captive by the Spirit of God to do the will of God.  Our spirit is gripped and driven by the Holy  Spirit.   God’s Spirit has a hold of us.  The will of God is our passion.

b. Elects are content not to know tomorrow in detail.  vs 22b

Faithfulness is better than life means that elect are content not to know in detail what tomorrow will bring.  This is tremendously freeing.  If one is a pessimist, one probably dream of a dozen things a day that may go wrong tomorrow that will make one miserable.  This text means that what God requires of us tomorrow is not that we have to make things work.  Success in human ventures is not the measure of God on our lives.  What God requires of us tomorrow is that we are to be faithful to Him and let the chips fall where He wills.  That is very freeing.

c. Elects are not to forsake Christ in affliction. vs 23

Faithfulness is better than life means elects are not to forsake Christ when faithfulness means affliction.  If we can honestly say with Paul that ‘faithfulness is better than life’  it will mean not only that we can be content with ignorance about tomorrow but we can also be content with the assurance that tomorrow is going to hurt.  This is remarkable.  The Holy Spirit tells Paul that in every city trials and afflictions awaits him.  Why Paul says this?  It is to teach the elects that it doesn’t matter to him, he is going forward anyway.  Elects at NCCkl should do too.  The question is not whether there will be hardship, pain, trouble or affliction, there will be!  Paul said to all the churches in Acts 14:22, “through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom.”   The question is whether we believe that faithfulness is better than life. 2 Tim 3:12

2.. Why Is Faithfulness Better Than Life?

a. Elects finishing the race vs 24

Faithfulness is better than life because faithfulness means finishing the race and the one who finishes will get the crown.  In other words, faithfulness is better than life because beyond this short life there is a great life of joy that stretches out forever out into eternity.  Those who are faithful here will enter that life and get a crown of righteousness.  Mat 24:13; 2 Cor 4:17; Mt 19:29; John 12:25; Mt 7:13-14   Why is faithfulness better than life?  It is because faithfulness means finishing the race and finishing the race means  without dropping out from weariness or frustration or pleasant detours.

b. God is gracious and God is King  vs 24-25

The answer is found in 2 phrases, one at the end of vs 24 and one near the end of vs 25.  The first phrase is ‘the gospel of the grace of God.’  The ministry Paul wants to be faithful to is the one he received from the Lord Jesus. This is to testify to the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection, which demonstrates the pure grace of God towards man’s salvation.  The second phrase is ‘preaching the Kingdom’ in vs 25.  Paul sums up the contents of his life work with these two phrases.  First testifying to the Gospel of God’s Righteousness and second preaching the Kingdom of God.  Paul lived to make known God’s grace and God’s Kingdom.  Here is the answer to our question, the foundation of Paul’s life and his hope was that God is gracious and that God is King.  That is the basis of our confidence that faithfulness is better than life.  If God is King, then God can reward the faithful and nothing can stop Him in His kingly power.

In conclusion, the message that faithfulness is better than life stands firm today – as firm and sure of the sovereignty and grace of God in Jesus Christ. I urge the elects at NCCkl to let God’s Word and not the words of the world determine what they feel is better in their lives.

Lifestyle Of Radical Obedience

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know that God is shaking everything that can be shaken.  Heb 12:26-29  That which is true and righteous will remain.  God is awakening the elects out of complacency and challenging them to a lifestyle of radical obedience.

What do I mean by lifestyle of radical obedience?  Lifestyle of radical obedience involves listening attentively with a heart of compliant submission and then obeying God’s Word.

Lifestyle of radical obedience means maintaining an intimate connection with God so much so that it prompts us to respond to His beckoning voice. 

My intention today is to lay out why the elects at NCCkl should live a life that is characterized by radical obedience.  Listed below are some benefits :

  1. Strong Relationship With God

Lifestyle of radical obedience creates a deeper relationship with God by having faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness. Our prompt obedience to God’s Word releases revelation knowledge that causes us to experience God on a higher level.

  1. Success In Our Endeavors

Lifestyle of radical obedience promotes perpetual success.  In Joshua 1:8, God promised success and prosperity for those who obey His words.  God told Joshua that his success was dependent on his obedience to God. It is no different for us elects.  We can expect God to bless our endeavors when we are willing to be obedient to Him.

  1. Rest For Our Soul

Lifestyle of radical obedience provides rest.  In Mt 11:28, Jesus promised rest for those who are weary and burdened if they obey His word and learn from Him.  We are made to rest and we can only find rest when we are rested in Jesus, Who is the Lord of Sabbath.

  1. Heaven Is Priceless

Lifestyle of radical obedience promises everlasting life in Heaven.  Heaven is literally priceless and because of that, it is our motivation for radical obedience.  Since we are going to Heaven,  the  elects ought to act like it.  Elects are God’s people right now, not just in the by-and by-.  When Jesus contrasted His work with the devil in John 10:10, He said, “the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy but I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.”   Heaven is life and life to the full.  If you are an elect, you will never be as fully alive as the moment you die.  In that moment, you will awaken to the very fullness of life in a place called Heaven.

  1. Conduit For Miracles

Lifestyle of radical obedience position the elects to experience supernatural moves of God.  This can vary from giving someone a vital word of knowledge or even to pray and expect a miracle to occur.

  1. Develops The ‘Yes’ Habit

Lifestyle of radical obedience allows the elect to be on the look out for what God is trying to do in the moment and get in alignment with that.  The ‘yes’ habit crushes the voice of doubt and creates a greater sensitivity to discerning the voice of God.

  1. Courageous Boldness

Lifestyle of radical obedience enables the elect to step out by faith on something God ask us to do even though we were afraid  at first.  Over time the spirit becomes stronger and confident in God and less intimidated by the fear of man.  The Holy Spirit will endow elects with power and a fierce boldness that will leave others astonished.

  1. Adventurous Faith

Lifestyle of radical obedience will cause the elect’s faith not to stay at the same level.  It will have no other choice other than to stretch in order to fit the task that God is asking of us.  It allows God to grow our faith and teach us to trust His promptings.

  1. Joyful Obedience

Lifestyle of radical obedience produces joy in knowing that we are in communication with the Father.  Joy and gladness come to us when we continually acknowledge His Presence.  Faithfulness in this way brings perpetual blessings to the elects who will in turn bless others.

In conclusion, everyone benefits from lifestyle of radical obedience to God whether it be directly or indirectly.

God Delights In Obedience

……..“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice…….” 1 Sam 15:22

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know that obedience leads to righteousness.  Obedience is the chief end of all true believers.  Sacrifice without obedience is futile and useless.  Obedience to the Lord is a big deal in the elect’s life.  In fact, obedience gives evidence of being an elect.  A profession of faith in Christ without a life of progressive obedience is simply a false profession.

However,  don’t be discouraged in your struggles with obedience.  Nor lament over your many failings in your obedience.  If you have a desire to obey and are purposefully seeking to obey the Lord, that is really a good sign of a new life in Christ.  Perfect obedience is for another world.  Sincere and growing obedience is for this world.  Let us explore 3 things about true obedience that delights God’s heart.

  1. True Obedience Is Salvation

Faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness and true obedience simply always go together.  We cannot have one without the other because obedience is the final analysis of what salvation is all about.  A person who is not converted truly by the baptism, death and resurrection of Christ cannot obey God.  A carnal heart cannot obey God because it cannot subject to the law of God.  This is the reason a person who has not believed by faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness cannot be obedient in the true sense of the word.  Obey is what people who have attained salvation by faith in Jesus’ baptism and death that desire to do.  Obedience is the objective test as to whether a person has truly received salvation and have been sealed with the indwelling Holy Spirit.  Jesus said, putting it in plain English, “if you love Me, you will keep My words.”  In other place He says that “a tree is known by its fruits

  1. True Obedience Is Not An Act but An Attitude

God does not measure obedience like we do.  We look at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart.  For this reason, we need to understand that obedience is first and foremost something that comes from the heart.  Obedience is an attitude. I say that because a person can appear to be obedient on the outside and actually be hating every minute of it.  God has not only forgiven our sins but in a miraculous way have given us an attitude that actually wants to obey.  The whole plan of salvation has as its primary purpose to create in us a new heart that is, a new attitude which says, “I delight to do Your will, O my God, You have written Your will in my heart.”   A person who does not have an attitude of obedience will tend to play what we might call ‘obedient games.’  That is, he will be obedient in some things and disobedient in others.  True obedience is non-discriminatory. It is an ongoing attitude that operates all the time.  When we talk about what it means to be ‘true to God’  or ‘faithful to God’  what are we talking about anyway?  Think about it.  How can a person ever be true to God  or faithful to God unless he is obedient to what God requires.  The first characteristics of true obedience is that it is an attitude that God puts in our hearts when we believe in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.

  1. True Obedience Can Never Come From Fear, Guilt Or Duty

True obedience is an attitude that a person has who is truly born again of the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.  A person who truly loves God would never obey Him for fear of the consequences.  The Scripture says, “Perfect love casts out fear”  1 John 4:18  A person who tries to obey God because they are afraid has not learned nor are they enjoying the blessing of obedience.  A person who is seeking to obey God because they would feel guilty if they didn’t, does not enjoy the blessing of obedience either.  A person who is trying to obey God in every area because they feel it is their duty to do so is not enjoying the blessing of obedience as well.  A person who lives under grace obeys for that very reason.  True obedience is heart deep.  However, the obedience that comes from fear, guilt or duty is false obedience and is only skin deep.

In conclusion, let me interject at this point a comforting thought and that is, temptation is not disobedience.  Our flesh and the devil will continually to call us to pride, impurity and unloveliness.  We will come to realize that there is in all of us a carnal nature which delights in disobedience.  We need to continually confess our faith in the Righteousness of God and know that we have died to this part of us.  Those whose hearts are obedient will still be tempted to disobey.

Obedience is just as much a gift of God as is forgiveness  in salvation.

After God’s Heart

Jesus answered and said to him, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words …………” John 14:23-24

Introduction

What a joy!  It is truly my pleasure once again interact with you through “Insight.”   May the Lord bring into fruition the theme “Send Me” in all our lives.

It is imperative for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know the key to God’s heart.  What do you think is the key to God’s heart?  Is it humility, perseverance or faith?  Although these attributes play a vital role in the elect’s life, today’s passage reveals to us the key to God’s heart.  John 14:23-24 tells us the best way to express our love, honor and reverence for God is through obedience.  Let me share with you 3 points.

  1. Obedience Is Not Optional For Elects

Jesus Christ simply states the fact :  “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  Jesus is not giving here an optional obedience.  Take note, “if you love me, then obey what I command you.”  He is saying that the man who truly loves him will obey His commandments.  To the elect there is no option.  He loves Jesus, therefore, he obeys Jesus’ commands.  It means we follow them and treasure them.  In 1 John 2:3-4 we read, “we know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands.”  The man who says, “I know Him but does not do what He commands is a liar and the truth is not in him.”  God’s elect have a specific responsibility.  Jesus is asking elects, just as He asked the apostles, to keep His words.  Ps 119:111

  1. Obedience Brings Blessing

Note the words, “my Father will love him and we will come and make our home with him.”  What a blessing to be loved by God the Father.  What a blessing for both the Father and Jesus to come and abide in the elect in the person of the Holy Spirit.  All three live and dwell within the elect.  When we obey God, the love of God  will  enrich  us  greatly,  as  there is no such thing as obeying Him and not being blessed.  Blessing follows obedience.  Our obedience to God allows Him to demonstrate His awesome power in our lives.  Our obedience also allows God to bless others through us.  Does this mean that we should obey God for the sake of blessings?  No it does not.  Instead, we should please God and obey Him because of Who He is.  We should honor Him and reverence Him as God the Father, the creator of all things.  Therefore, the greatest reward we can attain is His love and favor.  This is a blessing to those who obey the Word of God.

  1. Obedience Is Tied In Knowing God And Loving Him

In 1 John 2:5 we read, “but if anyone obeys His word, God’s love is truly made complete in Him.  This is how we know we are in Him.”  The obedient man obeys God’s word, knows God and loves God.  Jesus Christ came to earth to reveal God and to show us how to enter into God through the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.

Therefore, to know God, we must obey the mother of all obedience and that is to believe the Gospel of God’s Righteousness. 

We must obey the Gospel Word to attain salvation for our souls.  To those who disobey this Gospel Word  will be destroyed.  No amount of so called ‘obedience’ besides this can save one’s soul.  God’s elect must abide in Christ by faith in the Gospel truth.  The more we obey Him, the more we learn about Him and love Him.  Take note the word ‘obeys’  is a continuous action.  It means to continue believing and not to stop.  It is a day to day obedience.  The obedient person is the one who knows and loves God.

To conclude this message, let me share with you on what we must do to learn obedience.

1. Learn to wait upon the Lord in prayer.  Isa 40:31

2. Develop a habit of reading God’s Word.  Ps 119:47

3. Realize that to obey God often means head on collision with human reasoning and world system.  Prov 1:7

4. Realize that sometimes God will allow us to walk in the dark so that we will learn to trust Him.  James 1:2-3

5. Expect some inner struggles.  Rom 7:15

6. Learn that there is no substitute for obedience.  Deut 11:26-28

7. Be teachable.  James 4:6

Union

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”  Gal 3:27

Introduction

It is important for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that contains Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know what it means to be in union with Christ.  In fact, the subject is so frequently mentioned in Scriptures and so wide ranging in its application to the elects.  Listed below are several things the elect should know about union with Christ.

The Bible contains an astonishingly number of terms, expressions and images that bear witness to the reality of our union with Christ.  In the NT we find literally hundreds of references to the elect union with Christ.  To sight merely a few examples, elect are created in Christ  Eph 2:10, crucified with Christ Gal 2:20, buried with Christ Col 2:12, baptized into Christ’s death Rom 6:3, united with Christ’s resurrection Rom 6:5, seated with Christ Eph 2:6, Christ in us 2 Cor 13:5 and many more. Suffice it to say, union with Christ is an absolutely fundamental gospel conviction of the Apostles – dear to them because it was so dear to their Lord.

When we are joined to Jesus, we are included in the greatest mystery of the universe, the incarnation of God.  The redemption, restoration, regeneration and reconciliation of sinners depends entirely on the union with Christ.  By the Holy Spirit the elects are united to Christ to enjoy fellowship with the Father forever.  This is eternal life.  John 17:3

Our union with Christ is profoundly real and intensely intimate.  Union with Christ is not a sentiment, metaphor or a doctrine.  Nor is it a way of speaking about justification, sanctification, glorification or any other benefit of Christ.

Our union with the living Christ  is the essential truth of our new and eternal existence. 

In a way  that gloriously transcends our finite understanding, elects are really and truly joined – spiritually and bodily to the baptized, crucified and resurrected Christ.  There is no better good news than this.

It is because union with Christ is so central to the Gospel of God’s Righteousness, it has resonated in the teaching and preaching of the church throughout the ages.  Our union with Christ is to be accorded the highest degree of importance .  Why?  It is because being joined to Jesus is the whole point of the Gospel Truth of salvation.  For this is the design of the Gospel, that Christ may become ours and that we may be ingrafted into His body.

Justification is a magnificent benefit of being united with Christ.  Elects are not united with Christ because we have been justified.  It is quite the other way round.  Elects are justified because we have been united with Christ, Who is Himself our justification  1 Cor 1:30.  Elects receive Christ’s benefits precisely and only because we have been baptized, died and resurrected with Christ.  Christ lives in us and whatever grace, righteousness, life, peace and salvation there is in us is all Christ’s, nevertheless it is ours as well by the cementing and attachment through faith by which we became as one body in the Spirit.

Sanctification is a magnificent benefit of being united with Christ.  Christ is our justification and He is no less our sanctification.  Thus, united to Him, elect is not only forgiven and accounted righteous but also transformed into His holy image.  In giving Himself, Christ will no more leave us condemned and guilty (unjustified) than He will leave us corrupted and depraved (unsanctified).  This is because Christ cannot be divided into pieces.  Jesus is not a partial Saviour of a piecemeal Gospel.  When elect is joined to Christ, we receive all of Who He is for us.

Baptism is God’s pledge to us of our union with Christ.  In the witness of baptism, God impresses upon our bodies the truth and reality of our incorporation into the death, burial and resurrection of the living Christ.  When John the Baptist laid his hands and passed all the sins of humanity upon Jesus at the River Jordan, we too have been laid upon Jesus with our sin, guilt and penalty.  Faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness enables us to be spiritually baptized into Christ  to experience the good news that we have been crucified in Christ’s death and raised to new life in Christ’s resurrection.  Baptism is a mystery of our crucified and resurrected identity in Christ Jesus.

Wholeness

“11 Now it happened ………. 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” Lk 17:11-19

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that contains Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to recognize that mankind is made whole through and by Jesus only.  What do you think when you hear the word ‘wholeness’?  ‘Wholeness or wellness’ teaching is a big concept in our day, especially in the context of New Age thinking.

Through Jesus Christ, God has called elects to a life of wholeness.

The basic meaning of ‘wholeness’ is biblically defined as an idea of completeness, well being, spiritual prosperity and harmony. 

It depicts a relationship that God establishes and intends for God’s elect  with Himself, others and nature.  It involves a total harmony of spirit, soul and  body.

At times, God allows difficulties in the life of God’s elect to cause them to turn to Him.  God is always there to meet felt needs for healing, deliverance and success.  However, God desires beyond their felt needs that their greater need for wholeness be met.  This story in Luke 17:11-19 traces the path from felt need to wholeness.

Coming To Jesus  vs 11-13

Jesus travelled to Jerusalem by passing through Samaria and Galilee.  He came to the lost sheep of Israel and also ministered to those outside the covenant.  Dire need for healing caused the lepers to come to Jesus.  In like manner, our felt needs brings us to Jesus.  They had heard the Gospel Word that Jesus heals.  The lepers called in a loud voice, they were serious about their needs.  Leprosy implies sin in the Bible.  It cause one to be separated from God.  It makes one unclean.  One have nothing good in themselves to approach God.  One must plead for God’s mercy to meet the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that has the power to set one free.

Cleansing From Jesus  vs 14

Jesus saw them even though they were far off.  God sees us even when we are far away from Him. Jesus did not say that they will be healed but rather instructed them to go to the priest.  Obedience leads to miracle.  Obedience to the faith in the righteousness of God is a must.  Perhaps they would have wanted evidence for healing  but  they  went  and  were  healed.  Naaman the Syrian, in 2 Kings 5 did not like Elisha’s command to dip seven times in the Jordan River but in obeying, he was healed.  Obedience to go and distribute 5 loaves and 2 fishes to the many and asking the blind man to wash in the pool of Siloam were rewarded  with miracles.

Clinging To Jesus  vs 15-16

Only one showed gratitude.  He came back praising God in a loud voice.  He was a Samaritan, despised by the Jews.  A gentle warning to elects at NCCkl, familiarity breeds contempt.  We need to learn to show gratitude for the Gospel Truth at all times. Only one  leper fell at Jesus’ feet.  In fact, revelation knowledge of the Gospel of God’s Righteousness leads us to humility and to recognize our unworthiness.  Falling at Jesus’ feet leads to resurrection miracle.  Miracle of Jairus  Mk 5:22,  Mary  John 11:32

Completeness From Jesus  vs 17-19

Jesus three questions :

1. Were not 10 cleansed?  Jesus know exactly whom He had touched.  We are accountable for our blessings.  Jesus healing record is 10 on 10.

2. Where are the other 9?  Jesus does not want any to perish.  He is seeking out for every soul.

3. Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?  God’s elect need to live as aliens and strangers in this world.  1 Pet 2:11

Jesus declared to him, “your faith has made you well”  The Greek word for ‘well or wholeness’ is ‘sozo implying being saved more than just being cleansed.  Faith evidenced in thanking God and falling at Jesus’ feet.  10 cured of physical disease but only 1 cured of both physical and spiritual disease.  10 had felt needs met, only 1 had real need met.  10 got what they wanted, only 1 got what God wanted. 10 got healed, only 1 was made whole.

Completeness In Christ

“The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth…….. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. Rev 21:16

Introduction

It is essential for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that contains Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know that if life itself is to be complete, it must be three dimensional.  Many centuries ago, there was a man by the name of John who found himself in prison out on a lonely island called Patmos.   While John was out on this island, he lifted his vision to high heaven and saw, descending out of heaven, a new heaven and a new earth.  Then John saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem……..Rev 21:1-2.

One of the greatest glories of this new city of God that John saw was its completeness.  It was complete in all three of its dimensions. 

In Rev 21:16, John says, “. the length and the breadth and the height are equal.”  In other words, this new city of God, is not an unbalanced entity but is complete on all sides.  I think John is saying something here in all the symbolism of this text.  He is saying that life as it should be and life at its best as life that is complete on all sides.  There are three dimensions of any complete life to which we can fitly give the words of this text: length, breadth and height.  Now the length of life used here is the inward concern for one’s own welfare. The breadth of life used here is the outward concern for the welfare of others.  The height of life is the upward reach for God.  Now, God’s elect got to have all three of these to have a complete life in Christ.

  1. Length Of Life – inward concern for one’s own welfare

It is that inward concern that causes us to push forward, to achieve one’s own goals and ambitions.  This is the dimension of life where God’s elect ought to develop their inner supernatural powers in Christ.  The length of life means that God’s elect must love themselves as God does.  Many have gone through life with deep and haunting emotional conflicts before being born again in the water and Spirit.  God’s elect must accept themselves as how God had wonderfully made them,.  Unfortunately, many are still busy trying to be somebody else.  God gave all of us something significant, a unique personality.  We must pray for God to help us accept ourselves in whatever station of life we are in.  The principle of self acceptance is a basic principle in life.  God’s elect ought to discover what we are called to do.  Once we discover it, we should set out to do it with all of the strength and power in Christ.  Now, we must get beyond the first dimension of life.

  1. Breadth Of Life – outward concern for the welfare of others

It is necessary to add breadth to length.  God’s elect has not begin to live for Christ until  they can rise above the narrow confines of their own individual concerns to the broader concerns of souls that are spiritually dying. This is what God is looking in God’s elect today.  God’s elect who will ask themselves, ‘what will happen to lost souls if we don’t preach the Gospel of God’s Righteousness?’  This is how God judges His elects in the final analysis.  There will be a day, the question won’t be, ‘how many awards, how popular, how many degrees, how beautiful is your house, how much money you have?’  On that day, the question will be, ‘as elect what did you do to save souls from their eternal damnation?’  What did you do for others?  This is the breadth for life.  Somewhere along the way, God’s elect must learn that  there is nothing greater than to do something for others.  God’s elect should endeavor to be a witness and fulfil their highest calling.  We know there are God’s elect who master the length and breadth of life but they stop right there.  Now if life is to be complete, we must move beyond our self,  others  and reach out to God.

  1. Height Of Life – upward reach for God

God’s elect has a tendency to neglect this dimension of life.  The interesting thing is that many of them neglect it and don’t even know they are neglecting it.  God’s elect deprive themselves from cultivating a healthy communion with God because they become so involved in other things.  They end up going days and days without recognizing God’s presence in them.  God’s elect need to reach out to God at all times.  We were made for God and we will be restless until we find rest in Him.  God is most happy when we are satisfied in Him. Our constant faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness has the power to overcome the world and our adversary.

I Am Complete

“and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power…”  Col 2:10

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know they are complete in Christ.  When God’s elect look at themselves, what do they see?  Do they see someone who is imperfect and lacking in many areas or someone who is whole and complete in Christ?  Unfortunately, there are elects who see themselves as incomplete.  This is because they are conscious of their lack and  imperfections.  They see their weaknesses and condemn themselves and feel inferior to others.

The good news is that God does not see the way man sees.  Man sees the flesh, God sees the spirit.  God sees us already complete in Christ.  In spite of our imperfections, God sees us as new creations, partakers of His divine nature.  God wants us to see ourselves the way He sees us.  God’s elect at NCCkl ought to realize that they are not going to be complete in Christ some day, they are already complete in Christ.  What remains for us to do is to walk daily  by faith in that completeness by believing and confessing the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.

Jesus is our complete forgiveness, complete righteousness, complete favour and complete protection. 

God is concerned about our spiritual completeness.  Jer 10:23  Elect are complete in Him.  Col 2:10  Let us examine some very basic factors needed to walk in completeness.

  1. One Must Be In Christ In Order To Be Complete

God is the Source of our fullness.  Salvation is in none other.  Peace with God is in Christ.  We must be saved by grace through faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.  By putting off sin, we must come  into  a  saved  relationship  with  Christ.  We are  not to be mere Christian sinners but confessing righteous children of God.  Every spiritual blessing is in Christ because every other religious belief is futile, every other ‘knowledge’ is impotent, every creed is superfluous and every other church that fails to preach the Gospel of God’s Righteousness cannot attain the completeness in Christ.

  1. Preaching The Gospel of God’s Righteousness equips us to be complete in Christ.

The Gospel of God’s Righteousness warns every man of sin and death. It establishes a true believer in the Word of righteousness and exposes the counterfeit gospels.  This beautiful Gospel Truth prevents us from falling away.  The constant preaching of the Gospel Word causes the true believer to be filled with all wisdom and knowledge that are treasured up in Christ.  Listening and submitting to the Gospel Word causes us to become complete and mature in Christ.  The knowledge of truth frees us from sin and directs our lives in Christ.  Abiding in the Gospel Truth causes us to grow spiritually and enable us to teach others to walk the way of truth.

  1. Only God’s Elect Are Able To Become Complete In Christ

God’s elect are complete in God’s Church as One body.  The perfect law of liberty in Christ is able to guide us to be filled with knowledge of God’s will and purposes.  We are completed by a New Covenant and filled up with hope of inheritance in Christ.  Heb 7:18-19  We are filled with God’s love which is inseparable in Christ.  More so, God’s elect have received full of God’s forgiveness and are filled up with God’s grace and mercy.  We are now sealed with the indwelling Holy Spirit to help us walk in the path of holiness and righteousness.  Christ in us is our hope of glory.  We have become complete in Christ by being baptized into Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection.  God’s elect are seated at the right hand of God to reign over all power and authority in Christ.  We are complete!

Keys To Unlocking Christ’s treasure

“Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments..”  Ps 112:1

Introduction

It is important for God’s elect established in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know the keys to unlock Christ’s treasure.  It is God’s will that all God’s elect live blessed lives and experience God’s promises and blessings.  I believe God’s elect at NCCkl want to live lives with divine health, healthy relationships and sound financial standings.  Unfortunately, many struggle on how to take hold of these promises and blessings.

In the Bible, God gives over and over again the keys to unlock the divine treasure found in Christ.  The hidden keys are found in Ps 112:1.

The psalmist alludes that God’s elect must delight themselves in the Lord to experience Christ’s treasure. 

Listed below are some keys in the passage for God’s elect to realize:

  1. Realize That God Is The Source Of All Blessings

God is the Alpha and Omega, the One Who was, is and Who is to come.  Rev 1:8   God is the source from Whom all things were created.  Gen 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created heavens and earth.”  The Hebrew translation of that verse is “In the beginning, the BLESSED One created the heavens and earth.”  God is the ‘Blesser’ and blessings originated from Him.  “Every good and perfect gifts is from Him.”  James 1:17   God has a Blessing plan for God’s elect to experience everything He promises.

  1. Realize That The Choice To Be Blessed Is Ours

“Today, I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessing and curses.  Now, I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make.  That you would choose life so that you and your descendants might live.”  Deut 30:19   God wants His elect to know through this Scripture that He has called heaven and earth as witnesses and set two choices before us, blessings and cursings, life or death.  We have a choice and we have to choose.  God cannot do it for us.  Not choosing life and blessing is the same as choosing death and cursings.  How do you choose life and blessing?  We choose by making a conscious decision to place our faith  uncompromisingly in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.  Once  born  again after being forgiven of all our lifetime of sins, God bestows us with the gift of the Holy Spirit.  God’s elect  must consistently walk in the Holy Spirit by faith to experience the fullness of the abundant blessings God has promised us.  Choose to delight in Him and His ways.

  1. Realize That Fearing The Lord Leads To Blessing

The fear referenced in this Scripture is not the terror and anxiety that God tells us to avoid.  God promises that God’s elect will be blessed when we revere, worship and obey Him.  God doesn’t want us quacking in fear at the thought of Him or expecting ill effects from interacting with Him.  No, God simply wants us to recognize Who He is as our loving Heavenly Father.

  1. Realize That Delighting In His Commandments Leads To Blessing

Often when we think of God’s commandment or His laws, we immediately return to the Big 10, the ones Moses brought down on tablets from Mt. Sinai.  God’s commandment aren’t limited to those.  In fact, there are hundreds of commands in the OT alone.  However, as it became glaringly clear under the Old Covenant, God’s people have always been unable to follow God’s command in their own strength.  It took Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to erase the stain of their sins.  Thankfully, Jesus showed God’s elect another way, a way beyond rote obedience and a way into relationships.  In Mt 22:37-40, Jesus summed up all the OT commandments in one word – love.  Loving God wholeheartedly and loving others is our No. 1 command.  When God’s elect endeavors to keep the commandment of love by His Spirit with a pure motive, we are delighting in God’s command.

  1. Realize That God Loves Us And Wants Us Blessed

God  loves  us  so  much  and He desires an intimate relationship with us.

1 John 4:19 reminds us that we love each other because God loved us first.  It is only out of that love, God’s love, that His blessings are possible.  In fact, God demonstrated His love for us when Christ died while we are still sinners.  Rom 5:8  God’s elect are so important to God that He sent Jesus to ensure that we have the choice to live in relationship with Him forever and be blessed.  God wants us to delight in Him so that the blessings will overtake us.  Deut 28:2  Delighting ourselves in the Lord is easy when we understand first how much the Lord truly loves us.  When we realize His eternal love for us, we can’t help but delight in Him and His Word.

What Is Hidden Will Be Revealed

“12 In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the [a]leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.”  Luke 12:1-3

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect established in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness to discern the ‘leaven’ of ungodly religion.  Luke 12 is the most fascinating portion of Scripture that gives to us an inspired summary of what Jesus said to those who practiced ungodly religion.  What was the message that drew people to Jesus?  Why did the people hang on to Jesus’ words as they did?  Did they hear breezy talks full of the ‘feel good’ factor?  Was it full of snippets on how to be happy, how to cope with growing old or how to have a satisfying married life? None at all.

This chapter of 59 verses in Luke 12 has very little ‘feel good’ religion in it.  It is principally about the Living God that contains the most stringent ethical teachings,  an appeal to the conscience of Jesus’ hearers and pointing to the day of judgment.  Jesus had been so severe and relentless in His warnings about ungodly religion.

  1. Jesus Warns Against Ungodly Religion vs 1

We live in a world full of warnings, don’t we?  There are criminals who could take advantage of us, mislead us, steal from us, abuse us and destroy us.  Jesus would be foolish if He had told His disciples never to make any judgments at all, to pretend they had not noticed people’s wickedness, to suspend their rational faculties, to refuse to discern between truth and error but simply accept what everybody say.  Yet, He made no apologies for His words when He said to His disciples, “be on your guard against the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”

Do we heed this warning?  God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness must become more discerning and less gullible, to become more mature and not like a little child.  Rather, to be on our guard!  What is this, ‘the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy?’  It is simply about the ungodly religion they lived.  They lived a servile adherence to the letter of the law, insisted others to follow them blindly,   emphasis   was  on  form   and   not   substance,   on   outward appearance and not inward spirit, sought to draw attention to themselves, they shunned the lowly and they use their power and influence to make people as narrow as they were.  The particular wickedness of the Pharisees was this, that they themselves didn’t put into practice what they preached to others.  This is the leaven of the Pharisees that Jesus doesn’t want God’s elect to develop in their walk with Him which is very subtle and deceiving.

  1. Jesus Warns That The Lives Of All Men Will Be Evaluated vs 2-3

There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed or hidden that will not be made known.  What we have said in the dark will be heard in the daytime and what we whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.  The Pharisees were hypocrites.  They largely succeeded in disguising the state of their hearts from most people but not from the Living God.  God is omniscient, One Who knows everything.  Nothing escapes God’s notice, nothing can be hidden from Him.  God’s knowledge is perfect.  God never errs, never changes or never overlooks anything.  Eze 11:5  Though God is invisible to us, we are not so to Him.  Neither the darkness of night or the deepest dungeon can hide any sinner from the eyes of God.  This is why it is important for God’s elect at NCCkl to realize the desperate state of false teachers who display hypocrisy in these last days.

A glimpse of God’s infinite knowledge should fill God’s elect  with adoration. God knows us through and through and still He has loved us and reconciled us to Himself through the baptism and death of Jesus.  Whom we know on earth who could know every thought and action of our life and still love us perfectly?  The enemy of our souls himself, Satan, could tell God nothing that God didn’t already know.  We are known and we are loved.  God has fixed His great heart  upon us and loved us by forgiving all our sins and placed His Spirit within our hearts.  How foolish to try to cover up anything from God’s eyes.  The Bible says that at the end of history  mankind will be judged.  On that tremendous day, there will be no slipups, no bribes, no prejudices or no slanted judgments.  The sheer truth of all history will be publicly revealed.  People will be judged according to whether they were ashamed of Jesus or not,  they will be judged as whether they had done good or evil.  Compassion, kindness, fairness and others will count for good.  The leaven of unbelief, unrepentance, hypocrisy, hard heartedness, meanness, cruelty and dishonesty will be judged as evil.  Of course, we are not saved by  our good works.  We are saved by grace and through faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.  However, we are judged according to whether our works were consistent with our confession of faith.

Works are the evidence of true faith in our Gospel Truth.

Three Lives

“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”  Col 3:3

Introduction

It is interesting to know that God’s elect established in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness which contains Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection are actually living three lives.  We discern this hidden mystery in Col chap 3.  Identifying and accepting this truth will help God’s elect to know who we are and how we are supposed to live.  To see the three lives that God’s elect are living, we need to read some selected verses in Col 3.  Let us begin by looking at ‘life’ number one.

  1. Living A Hidden Life – My position in Christ

Col 3:1-4 states “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”   Note that Paul states God’s elect has a life that is hidden in Christ.  We don’t often think of the life we have in Christ as being hidden life, yet that is exactly what it is called in this text.  There are some principles here which effect the status and service of the life of God’s elect.

a. A fixed life – God’s elect cannot loose it because God has it!  Our life is not hidden in salvation but rather our salvation is hidden in God.  Our life is not a church, rituals or religion.  Our life is in Christ.  It is so deep in God that it is hidden.  It is like a treasure which no one can steal or take away.  It is a life fixed forever.  In fact, the text suggest a double-lined protection.  Our life is WITH Christ and IN God.  What thief will ever break into that secure vault?  None!

b. A focussed life – Since our life is in Him and He is in heaven, our focus has to be upward.  Our nature is to look upward because our nature was changed when Christ saved us and gave us His life.  Since Christ is in heaven, our affection should be focussed there and not on things in this life.  How important this is for us to remember.  We live in this world but we are not of this world.  Therefore, we must focus on that which is most important and that which is lasting.

c. A future life – Part of the life we have is yet to come.  Our identity is hidden in Christ.  Heaven is our home even though we have never been there.  Most people think of heaven as the place where  they lived  and longed to return to again.  God’s elect long for heaven even though we have never been there.  Why?  We long for heaven because Jesus is there and our life is hidden there.  We have a life hidden in Jesus.  The future is always bright for God’s elect.  The moment of hardship can hold no pain or sorrow that diminishes our prospect.  No collapse of economy, war or illness can do anything but cause us to look up with greater anticipation because our life is hidden in Christ.  1 Pet 1:3-5

  1. Living A Holy Life – My performance through Christ

In Col 3:3-11, Paul clearly states that we have died to the old life and that we are living a new life.  In essence, we are living a holy life in this world through God’s strength and power in us.

We are not living holy lives in order to be accepted by God but we are living holy lives because we are accepted by God in Christ. 

We are told in this passage to mortify, destroy or bury the old life in order to live properly the new life we have in Christ.

a. Sensual sins – vs 5-6 speaks about sins that affect our senses.  These should be put to death – mortified – buried.  Why?  They should be mortified and put to death because we are living a new life in Christ.

b. Speaking sins  – in vs 7-10a reveal that we must live a life which buries our sins of speech.  We should avoid sinful language of anger, slander and lying.  Our tongues are to be dedicated to God.  We should bury conversations which is not wholesome and holy.  Certainly our tongues are redeemed to honor Jesus, praise Him and to make Him known to the world.

c. Selfish sins – vs 10b-15a tells us how we are to remove selfishness, envy, status consciousness and pride.  Love and peace are to rule our hearts.  Now understand something important – the old life will try to resurface.  We are to mortify it.  We are to put to death.  We are to come again and again to Christ and make our confession of faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that has made us sinless and righteous by faith.

  1. Living Abundant Life – Our praise for Christ

Col 3 : 15b-17 requires us to be thankful.  Our life is to be filled with thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is not a season for God’s elect but rather it is a way of life.  Thanksgiving is an everyday occurrence.

a. It must be internal – God’s Word are music to our minds and our hearts.  The Word of God will make us thankful and cause us to break into song.

b. It must be external – Thanksgiving cannot remain silent neither can genuine faith.  It breaks out in spite of hindrances.  Real life is animated.  We cannot hide it.  It ought to be seen in the eyes of men.

c. It must be eternal – After all God’s praise here is just a warm-up for glory.  We will praise God forever in heaven.

Glorious Mystery

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory.”  1 Cor 2:7

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect who are established in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to be good stewards of the mysteries of God.  Spiritual mysteries hidden in Christ transforms our life and protects us from false teaching confronting the church today.  The Greek word translated mystery implies an idea of a hidden or secret thing, not obvious to the carnal mind.  In the OT ‘mysteries’ referred to God’s purposes which cannot be known by man apart from God’s special revelation in Scripture or by His prophets.  Dan 2:18-23, Dan 2: 27-30.  In the NT, the ‘mysteries’  conveys eternal truths that had not been revealed to mankind during OT times but are now revealed to the world through the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.  Col 1:26; Eph 3:4-5; Rom 16:25-26; 1 Pet 1:10-12.

The mysteries reveal God’s Person, eternal purpose and sovereign plan. 

Faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness open better understanding and believing in the mysteries of God.  The benefits are immense namely, genuine salvation experience with God, knowledge about problems of evil and power to triumph over evil at work in our world today.  Let us explore some of it benefits :

  1. The Mysteries Of God Establishes Our Call

God’s elect are responsible to know and make known the mysteries of God.  1 Cor 2:7 ; 1 Cor 4:1   These mysteries are foolishness to the natural man because they are spiritually discerned.  1 Cor 2:14  The treasure hidden within these mysteries can only be understood with the help of God’s Holy Spirit because they are truths which man cannot comprehend by experience, reason or human philosophy.  God’s elect ought to pray for  God to give the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God.  Eph 1:17-18   God’s elect are supposed to be stewards of these mysteries.  A  steward is both a faithful servant and wise overseer of a household.   Lk 12:42-43   A steward’s responsibility  is to administer the wealth of the household according to his Master’s will.  As stewards of the mysteries of God, we must faithfully dispense the spiritual riches of the Gospel of God’s Righteousness to the lost world.  We will be persecuted for faithfully preaching these mysteries.  Col 1:24-27 ; Col 4:3-4    These mysteries contain the unsearchable riches of Christ pertaining to His redemptive plan for the salvation of man.

  1. The Mysteries of God Establishes Our Faith

It is through clear understanding of these mysteries that we can be established in the faith.  Faithful preaching of the mysteries brings about the obedience  of  faith  in   the  Gospel  of  God’s  Righteousness.   Rom 16:25-26;

2 Thess 2:13-17   Preaching of the Gospel is the means by which God establishes His people in true faith and holiness.  The Gospel is a mystery of God.  Eph 6:19  This Gospel is the same one Jesus preached and which also reveals to us His divinity, humanity, ministry, righteousness, baptism, death and resurrection.  The true church of God  will be established according to the revelation of the mystery.  In context, this refers to the mystery of the Gospel of God’s Righteousness which includes within it all the other specific mysteries of God mentioned in the NT.  These mysteries cannot be known or discovered by human reason or intellect.  They are beyond the ability of mere man to fully explain such as the doctrine of Trinity.  These mysteries are the glorious result of the eternal wisdom, love and counsel of God.  They contain unfathomable riches of glory, so as to surpass the limits of human knowledge. Eph 3:19  These mysteries are things which even angels desire to look into.  1 Pet 1:12

  1. The Mysteries of God Establishes Our Church

NCCkl is built on the mysteries of God which was kept hidden  since the world began.  This does not mean that this mystery of the Gospel of God’s Righteousness was entirely unknown in the ages past.  In fact, the first prophecy of the incarnation was given to Adam after the fall.  Gen 3:15  Christ was revealed to Abraham  John 8:56,  Moses in Leviticus, David in Ps 22, Isaiah in Isa 53 and others.  However they were given only a partial revelation.  The mysteries were hidden within OT.  Prophetic typology such as the OT priesthood, tabernacle, temple, sacrifices were shadows of the things to come.  Heb 8:1-5   At NCCkl, we are able to become faithful stewards of the mysteries of God because the Holy Spirit constantly unveils the hidden secrets of God’s salvation through the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.  God’s elect ought to preach the Gospel, reveal the mysteries of God’s will, teach others how to enter the Kingdom of God, open their spiritual blindness and help others to understand the mystery of iniquity and its consequences.

Conclusion

These mysteries of God reveal how everything is working together toward one glorious eternal purpose hidden in Christ.  The mysteries protect NCCkl from false teachings, demonic deceptions and falling into mere religious fervour.  Let us be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God.

Staying Alive

“Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. 35 For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord;,”  Prov 8:34-35

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect who are established in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to stay alive in Christ.  Staying alive will keep one strong, safe from the enemy and catapult us to victory.  The secret to our future is hidden.  Where can we find this hidden secret ?  It is found in our daily  routine.  Staying alive in Christ is determined on what we do on a daily basis.  If God’s elect is sowing to their flesh the results will never be what we want.

However, if God’s elect is sowing to the Spirit, they will become stronger and stronger in Christ.  An anointed daily routine produces glorious result. 

Listed below are some habitual things God’s elect can do to stay alive in Christ.

  1. To stay alive, we ought to feed our spirit Mt 4:4

This verse says we cannot live on just food for our body – we need food for our spirit, too.  To stay alive God’s elect must know the reality and severity of the works of the devil and understand the importance of developing a strong spirit to resist him.  We need daily to feed on God’s Word to stand on top of every trial in our victory stance.

  1. To stay alive, we ought to build our faith 1 Sam 30:6

Faith is our responsibility.  It isn’t God, it isn’t Ps Paul’s and it isn’t your neighbors.  The only one who can guarantee a strong faith is YOU.  God has given us the tools we need to develop a strong faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness. The kind of faith that moves mountains, skeets the mouth of lions, quenches the fiery flame, turns weakness to strength and put the whole armies to flight.  How do you build that kind of faith? Hearing the Word of God again and again.  Just as with natural muscles, repetition is a key to building strong faith.

  1. To stay alive, we ought to speak the Word Prov 18:21

The Bible says in essence, “you are what you speak”  Mark 11:23  Staying alive in Christ cause us to speak the Word and only the Word over our lives and the lives of those around us.  We know it is often a matter of life and death.  By putting God’s Word in our heart daily, speaking the Word will become our knee-jerk reaction to any situation, which means we will react with an automatic predictable response – Faith.  When trial comes our way, don’t become the proverbial bump on a log and let the devil have the final word – talk back!

  1. To stay alive, we ought to control our thought life Josh 1:8

Is our thought life healthy or toxic?  The mind, spirit and body are interconnected – our thoughts affect our words, which then affects our health, prosperity, joy, peace and every other area of life.  Thoughts are real things – they occupy real estate in our brain.  Bring all thoughts into captivity in Christ.  Our brain is designed to do that.  When we do, our brain start operating correctly.  2 Cor 10:5  To bring every thought into captivity, begin focusing on what we are thinking about.  Resist negative thoughts and replace them with the Word of God.  We can become a master of thought domination by meditating on the Word of God.  To meditate means we don’t just hear it – we focus and contemplate  on it. That is how we enlarge our capacity for faith.

  1. To stay alive, we ought to anchor our hearts through praise Ps 34:1

Do we know praise is a language?  It is a language of faith and a language of receiving.  A strong believer is fluent in praise.  That is why we are called to bless the Lord at all times.  No matter what is happening in our lives, we have countless reasons to thank Him for what He has done, what He is doing and what He will do.  Praise is an act of faith. There is a connection between praise and strength. Praise puts us in position and produces spiritual strength.

  1. To stay alive, we ought to pray in the Spirit Jude 20

A strong believer knows the importance of keeping his spiritual battery charged.  When we pray in the Spirit, we edify ourselves, which means to improve or uplift.  It strengthens our spirit and builds us up in our faith.  It takes us into the spiritual realm and opens the door to revelation knowledge, wisdom, instruction and encouragement.

  1. To stay alive, we ought to get rid of baggage Heb 12:1

Streamlining.  The ultimate goal in streamlining is optimum performance and a victorious outcome.  When God told us to strip off every weight that slows us down, “He was telling us to streamline our lives so that we can enjoy optimum victory in our pursuit in Christ.  What kind of baggage are we carrying today?  Worry, anxiety, stress or fear?  Maybe it is a habit of sin that we haven’t removed or unforgiveness that has been festering for years.  Whatever it is, make the decision to get rid of it today.  It is slowing you down.  Take off anything that is hindering you and run your race to victory.

Conclusion

Beloved, the Gospel of God’s Righteousness is not a lazy man’s gospel.  We cannot stay alive by being lazy, sleeping late, not reading the Bible, not attending church regularly, not tithing.  Prov 13:4 alludes “the appetite of the sluggard craves and gets nothing but the appetite of the diligent is abundantly supplied.”

Dead Walking, Living Dead

“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,”  Eph 2:1

Introduction

When we look around, we see a world full of the living dead.  The sad part is they don’t know they are dead living.  Paul reminds God’s elect that they too were once part of the ‘dead walking.’  At the time, we ourselves did not know we were dead either!

Our Scripture today speaks to the desperate condition of the lost.  It also reminds us of what we were before being saved by the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that contains Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.  Jesus referred to the  Pharisees and the Laodicean Church as those ‘walking dead’ as well.  In Eph 2, Paul is writing to the saved.  He is painting out that we were once dead in our sins.  We are not here in NCCkl because we are better than everyone else but we are here because of His unlimited mercy.  Let us look at Eph 2 and consider some important issues concerning the ‘dead walking, living dead’

1. The Grave In Our Past

We begin with death.  Sin renders a person spiritually dead.  Note three things at this point:

a. Dead – To speak of death within context means to be dead in one’s spirit.  This does not mean that the person does not know about God or respect for God.  It means that sin has separated him or her from God.  A dead person cannot do anything for himself.  Without a miracle of supernatural assistance, they will perish in sin.

b. Led – Satan is called a prince. Satan is a prince but God is the King.  Yet, this prince of darkness had led souls astray.  Satan is the prince at work in the affairs of the world.  Satan is the power at work in the hearts of the lost.  All of us were at one time led by the prince of this world into sinful rebellion against God.  The end of this disobedient way of life is death.

c. Fed – The lost are fed through the lust of their flesh.  They hunger for things outside of God and find Satan too willing to put these things within easy reach.  This has led to the spiritual ingesting of a poison called sin.  It renders death to all who partake of it.

2.The Grace On Our Present

Those of us who are saved have been delivered from death but not through any effort of our own.  In essence, our Lord sought us, bought us and brought us to new life in Himself by His marvelous grace.

a. He gave us love – God loves the sinner with an everlasting, undying and unceasing love.  A love so great that nothing can separate us from that love we have embraced.  It was God’s love that sent His Son to be baptized and die on the cross for our sins.  It is this love that keeps us saved.

The world may not care if we live or die but Jesus cares for us.  He died to save us from sin and He lives to make us free forever. 

b. He gave us life – When we allow the Gospel Word to accomplish its purpose in our hearts and repent accordingly, God by His mercy gives us His life.  The life we now have is His life and not our own.  When Christ new life begin, a person loves the things he once hated and hates the things he once loved.  Once we are saved by Jesus, we change in our attitude and interest.  We were made alive in Christ.  God doesn’t want us fixing our old house.  He wants to tear it down and rebuild it in His image.  He wants to start over.

c. He gave us a lift – In addition to being loved and given new life, we have been lifted up to sit in the heavenlies with Jesus.  What does this mean?  Those who are saved are as good as in heaven right now even though we are still here.  Every time God looks to His right and sees the Son, He also sees us.

3.The Glory In Our Position

We have been elevated to a new and marvelous position in Christ.

a. Look at our family – We are citizens of the kingdom. God’s elect are given a new life and a new family at NCCkl.  As part of this family, we are heir of all that God has.

b. Look at our foundation -  We are built upon Christ, the Chief Cornerstone.  Jesus is the foundation of NCCkl and every true believer.  We can now stand on the grace of God because we are resting on the rock solid faith found in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.  We have peace, hope and habitual joy in Christ.

c. Look at our future  -  God is going to show His exceeding riches of grace towards us throughout eternity.  Think of that.  All that we have discussed so far is but a foretaste of that which God is going to give us one day in Heaven.  We have eternity to enjoy the blessings of the Lord.

Saint Alive

“For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.”  Philemon 1:7

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect who are established in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to be ‘saints alive.’   A saint is defined as a person who is set apart and made holy by the righteousness of faith.  Saints are alive when they are ‘in Christ’ and in whom Christ dwells.  When reading Paul’s letter to Philemon, I saw a theme I have not really seen before.  This letter is an instruction on how saints who are  alive are able to refresh other saints.  Philemon was a refreshing person.  When Paul thought about Philemon, he thought about the joy and comfort he had given him and others.  Philemon 1:7

Doesn’t that make God’s elect want to be like Philemon?  Don’t we want to be a joy and comfort to others?  In this dry and weary land, don’t we want to be an oasis of living water for parched saints.  John 7:38  That is what Jesus wants us to be.  Mt 10:42

The ministry of refreshment is so important to Jesus that He wants us to know the reward there is for those who give it.

In Philemon, Paul tells ‘saints alive’ five ways on how we can refresh others.

Love God  Philemon 1:5

‘Saints alive’ ought to love and trust Jesus.  “Love the Lord, all you his saints.”  Ps 31:23  God is love and therefore love is from God.  Only when we love and trust God supremely, then we have the resources to love our neighbors as ourselves.  It is our profound love and trust in the Lord that will refresh our brothers and sisters most.  Only Jesus, our living water can quench the thirst of the human soul.  ‘Saints alive’ can only give it to others when they are drinking it themselves.

Love Saints  Philemon 1:5

‘Saints alive’ ought to love other saints.  Talk is cheap.  Deeds usually aren’t.  That is why John says “let us not love in words but in deed and truth.” 1 John 3:18   Let us refresh the saints in our lives by meeting their needs with whatever resources God has given us.  Let us give them words of eternal life but also love them by laying our lives down for their joy.  By ‘the saints in our lives’ I mean those in NCCkl. ‘Saints alive’ are primarily responsible for those in the faith community where God has placed us.

Share Faith  Philemon 1:6

‘Saints alive’ ought to share their faith to others.  Our conversation with others becomes priceless when through them we share the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.  We share our faith every time we point someone to the source of our hope.  Every weary saint often need the refreshment of our shared faith.  Sharing it is like the loaves and fishes.  The more we share, the more faith there is.  So share it liberally!

Share life  Philemon 1:13

‘Saints alive’ ought to free their family members to serve the Kingdom.  Paul wrote this letter to let Philemon know that his prodigal bond servant, Onesimus, was now a brother in Christ.  As such, Philemon as a ‘saints alive’ ought to extend him the grace of Christ.  More so, Paul also made it clear that Onesimus was of great help to Paul’s ministry.  Furthermore, Philemon should not think primarily of his own household needs but the kingdom needs.  One way for us to put this principle into practice is to release members of our household for the sake of refreshing the saints even if it involves personal costs and inconvenience for us.

Share Possession  Philemon 1:22

‘Saints alive’ ought to make their home an embassy.  The fact that Paul made this request says something about Philemon, namely, he showed hospitality without grumbling.  We are ambassadors for Christ. 2 Cor 5:20  ‘Saints alive’ ought to know that our homes are not our castles but our embassies.  God has given them to us to refresh  the saints.  Let us make our homes oasis places.

Conclusion

‘Saints alive’ at NCCkl are entrusted with the priceless ministry of refreshment.  All around us are weary brothers and sisters who are slogging it out in a spiritual war on a battle field of a futile world.  Eph 6:12  There are times for reproof and corrections but most of the time what they need are encouragement.  Let us at NCCkl, make it our aim to refresh the saints and choose one practical way to do that today.

Church Alive

“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”  Mt 16:18

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect to recognize that the Church was designed by God to be an irresistible community.  Unfortunately, people are not always drawn to it.  What are the characteristics of a church that is alive?  Jesus Christ loved the Church, so much so, that He gave His life.  If the Church is so precious to Him then we should know the Truth pertaining to what ‘Church alive’ is all about.

In 1 Pet 2:4-17, the Scripture likens the Church to “lively stones.”  Christ likens Himself to a ‘Lively Stone’ and the believers to ‘living stones.’  Let us examine the Church that is alive and moving forward for Christ.

The Church Is Alive Because Of Its Maker  V4

The Church is not only described as a ‘Stone’ but even the  members are called ‘lively stones.’  How can a stone be alive?  The mere thought of such screams for the supernatural!  That is exactly the intent.  God is conveying through Peter that the Church is above and beyond the ordinary.  It is the super-ordinary, beginning with Christ.  Sadly, so many reject the Church and plug in to many counterfeit organizations in its place.  The Church is an organism.  It is living organism with Christ as the Maker.

The ‘Church alive’ is determined by the Savior’s righteousness, grace and mercy working in the lives of God’s elect. 

God’s elect are plugged into Christ for the purpose of experiencing His life.  God chose the same ‘Stone’ that was rejected by man to be the Chief Cornerstone.  Just as His choosing involved His own Son, it also involves us as members of the Church.

The Church Is Alive Because Of God’s Elect  V5-8

The priestly work of God’s elect in ‘Church alive’ is immense and extensive.  God’s elect who have received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit are called ‘living stones.’  We are alive because Jesus lives in us.  As we live, God wants us to be offering up spiritual sacrifices that  are  acceptable  to  Him.  Rom 12:1-2 ; Heb 13:15-16    God  has chosen only His elect to serve the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.  ‘Church alive’ is filled with songs of worship, shouts of praises and service of gladness rendered to the Savior of our soul.

The Church Is Alive Because Of Its Mission  V9-10

The ‘Church alive’ is the extension of God’s Kingdom on earth.  God’s elect are divinely chosen to participate in the priestly service of meeting the spiritual needs of people in the world.  The call to serve goes beyond our sphere of influence to the ends of the world.  The ‘Church alive’ is divinely protected, fed and nurtured by God to advance His Kingdom on earth.  As God’s elect, we are called to proclaim the praises of Him Who delivered us from the Kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light.  We were once not a  people but now a people of God saved by grace through faith in the Gospel of God’s righteousness.  The ‘Church alive’ ought to not only be alive but also act alive.  God’s elect must not be blinded by their own circumstances and be paralyzed with fear of serving.  God’s elect are transformed by the power of Christ through the Holy Spirit to serve the lost humanity.  We must have passion for souls and desire to administer the Gospel of God’s Righteousness at all times to all people.  Missions is vital to the health of the ‘Church alive.’  God’s elect must realize that before they can ever truly reach others with the gospel, they must first come to a place where the gospel directs their lives.  When this happens, we will be a ‘Church alive.’

The Church Is Alive Because Jesus Is Its Focus  V11-17

Everything that God’s elect do must be centered on Jesus.  Our preaching, our teaching, our worship, our fellowship and our service all must be about Jesus.  These are one common factor in the many churches that are dead……somewhere along the way they lost their focus.  Things become more about the people and programs of the church than the Savior of the church.  In ‘Church alive’, it must always be Christ and Him alone.  The purpose of the ‘Church alive’ is not to appease people who cannot be appeased.  The purpose of the ‘Church alive’ is to exalt the Savior.  The word ‘exalt’ means to lift up.  When God’s elect lift up the Name of Jesus, people will come to know Him as their personal Savior.  When a church is alive, there is evidence of the power, presence and performance of Jesus Christ.

Abide

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.“  John 15:4

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect to understand that Christianity is about far more than holding right beliefs or adopting right behaviors.  At salvation, God’s elect enter into a union with God through faith in the baptism, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This spiritual union changes the legal status of God’s elect from a sinner to a righteous person by faith in the working of God.  God’s elect have a right standing with God by being justified freely by  grace through faith in the righteousness of God.  Phil 3:7-9; Rom 3:21-26

God’s elect also have communion with God when they abide in Christ.  They have access to a life-giving, soul-thrilling and joy-producing communion with God through abiding in Christ.  The Christian faith is about union and communion with Jesus.  The hearts of God’s elect ought to desire this intimate relationship.  Do we seek to abide in Christ like this?  Do we desire God in this manner?

Abide

Jesus wants God’s elect to abide in Him.  In John’s Gospel, Jesus teaches His disciples about this union.  Jesus informs them that He has already made them clean during the upper room foot washing.  John 13:10-11  This ceremony wasn’t pointing to Jesus’ hyper-aversion to dirty feet, it was a symbolic display of His incarnation, baptism, atoning sacrifice, burial, resurrection, ascension and Second Coming.  This is why Jesus declared them clean with the exception of Judas.  Jesus says about this ‘hour’ before going to the cross to bear their sins and make them clean.  God’s elect need to have inward cleanness for  Christ to abide in them. John 15:3

Jesus follows this with the  command “abide in Me and I in you” John 15:4a.  To ‘abide’ is a verb.  It is active.  Abiding in Christ is not  a  feeling  or a belief but something we do.  It means to ‘remain’ or ‘stay’.  In fact, it entails far more than the idea of continued belief in the Savior.  John 15:5 further illustrates this abiding relationship with a parallel relationship of a Vine and a branch.  We the branches are to be connected to Him (the Vine) for our life and sustenance.  Only in Him can we bear fruit.

How Do We Abide?

Abiding in Christ means hour by hour trusting Him to meet all our needs and be all our treasure.

To abide in Christ means to keep up a habit of constant close communion with Christ – to be always leaning on Him, resting on Him, pouring out our hearts to Him and seeing Him as our fountain of life and strength. 

More so, to have Christ’s words abiding in us is to keep His sayings and precepts continually before our thoughts in order to make them the guide of our action, conduct and behavior.

Three Keys To Abiding

To abide in Christ daily requires dependance upon the Holy Spirit in which we do these things :

  • walk by faith
  • spend focused time
  • engage in intentional actions

God’s elect ought to  daily preach the Gospel of God’s righteousness to themselves, plan to abide throughout the day, read Scriptures, pray and live in community with others.  Fight sin (intentional actions).  We do this as we live dependent upon the Holy Spirit in order to abide in Christ.  To be ‘in-Christ’ means to have a new legal standing and a new relational orientation.  We do not solely want to be made right with God rather we want to be with God.  We are new creations in Christ, freed from sin and worldly pursuits to abide in Christ.  At  NCCkl let us  yearn with holy urgency for our faith to be rooted in the depth of our heart, to be steadfast and to have hearts that seek so that we may taste and see the goodness of God in order to abide in Christ.  This has been our focus for the month of September.

Taste

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;  Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”  Ps 34:8

Introduction

It is important for God’s elect to taste the sweetness of God as God meets us in His Word.  Ps 34 is a song of thanksgiving in which David begins by praising God for His deliverance from fear and troubles.  David then calls upon the people of Israel to remember  that their God is both their Protector and Deliverer.

Spiritual hunger longs for rich, substantial nourishment which is amply served through the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.

This substantive spiritual food will brace our mind with truth and nourish our hearts with God’s satisfying grace. 

Our love for God enflames when we see His beauty, taste His mercy and feel His love.  God’s elect must savor the incomparable trustworthiness of God’s promises.  God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

Tasting And Seeing

In Ps 34:8, David instructs and encourages the people.  First, he implores them to seek the Lord and to know His goodness.  Then David tells them that they will be blessed by trusting.  Hence, we know that trust is produced by knowing God’s goodness.  The words ‘taste and see’ are sensual and experiential.  They are sensual in that they describe the action of two of our God given senses.  How do we ‘taste and see’ that the Lord is good?  Well, before tasting anything, we must eat something and before eating something we must ‘see’  the food.  From the beginning, God gives man food to see and to eat. Gen 2:9

Hunger For Food 

Adam was created with natural hunger for food.  God gave him the produce of the Garden to satisfy his hunger.  God also created Adam with a spiritual hunger that only He could satisfy through an intimate relationship.  This is the relationship that established Adam’s heart and fueled his actions.

As God’s elect, we also are united to God by our spiritual union through faith in Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.  Our new found spiritual  relationship  with  Christ  causes  us  to  hunger  for intimate relationship with God.  However, before Adam sinned, he ‘saw’ God in a way that we do not.  Adam had clear ‘sight’ but we only see  ‘dimly’  while we remain in this earth.  1 Cor 13:12    When our sight is clear, we will ‘taste’  fully  of the goodness of God.

Tasting Before Seeing

Ps 34:8 clearly tells us to taste first and then to see His goodness.  How do we ‘taste’ of His goodness?  I suggest it is by the milk and meat of the Holy Scriptures.  ‘Milk and meat’ are used in Scripture as word pictures of God’s Word.  1 Cor 3:2; Heb 5:12-13

God’s elect from the time of their new birth are to hunger for the Word.  Peter likens this hunger to that of a newborn baby.  A newborn baby does not need to be taught to hunger and to cry out for milk.  The natural hunger is internally experienced and they make their voice heard.  As God’s elect, God expects that we are to hunger internally for the Word because it nourishes our living souls.  When we hunger, we are to cry out in need for the pure Word and faithful teaching so that we will grow spiritually.  This will enable us to ‘taste and see’ the goodness and grace of our Lord.  1 Pet 2:2-3;  Ps 119:103

Tasting Produces Seeing

Paul wrote to the Ephesian Church about the importance of ‘tasting’ the Word.  In seeking knowledge of God comes wisdom and revelation.  That ‘tasting’ produces knowledge of Jesus that gives sight.  Eph 1:17-19   Taste and see that the Lord is good.  Satisfy your hunger with God’s Word of Truth.  Find rest and joy in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.  Always endeavor to enlighten your eyes to see Jesus, our only true Hope of glory.   Taste God’s goodness and see that the Lord is good.  Now we will know the  hope of His calling and the riches of His glory in the saints.   Eph 1:18

Taste

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;  Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”  Ps 34:8

Introduction

It is important for God’s elect to taste the sweetness of God as God meets us in His Word.  Ps 34 is a song of thanksgiving in which David begins by praising God for His deliverance from fear and troubles.  David then calls upon the people of Israel to remember  that their God is both their Protector and Deliverer.

Spiritual hunger longs for rich, substantial nourishment which is amply served through the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.  This substantive spiritual food will brace our mind with truth and nourish our hearts with God’s satisfying grace.

Our love for God enflames when we see His beauty, taste His mercy and feel His love. 

God’s elect must savor the incomparable trustworthiness of God’s promises.  God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

Tasting And Seeing

In Ps 34:8, David instructs and encourages the people.  First, he implores them to seek the Lord and to know His goodness.  Then David tells them that they will be blessed by trusting.  Hence, we know that trust is produced by knowing God’s goodness.  The words ‘taste and see’ are sensual and experiential.  They are sensual in that they describe the action of two of our God given senses.  How do we ‘taste and see’ that the Lord is good?  Well, before tasting anything, we must eat something and before eating something we must ‘see’  the food.  From the beginning, God gives man food to see and to eat. Gen 2:9

Hunger For Food 

Adam was created with natural hunger for food.  God gave him the produce of the Garden to satisfy his hunger.  God also created Adam with a spiritual hunger that only He could satisfy through an intimate relationship.  This is the relationship that established Adam’s heart and fueled his actions. As God’s elect, we also are united to God by our spiritual union through faith in Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.  Our new found spiritual  relationship  with  Christ  causes  us  to  hunger  for intimate relationship with God.  However, before Adam sinned, he ‘saw’ God in a way that we do not.  Adam had clear ‘sight’ but we only see  ‘dimly’  while we remain in this earth.  1 Cor 13:12    When our sight is clear, we will ‘taste’  fully  of the goodness of God.

Tasting Before Seeing

Ps 34:8 clearly tells us to taste first and then to see His goodness.  How do we ‘taste’ of His goodness?  I suggest it is by the milk and meat of the Holy Scriptures.  ‘Milk and meat’ are used in Scripture as word pictures of God’s Word.  1 Cor 3:2; Heb 5:12-13

God’s elect from the time of their new birth are to hunger for the Word.  Peter likens this hunger to that of a newborn baby.  A newborn baby does not need to be taught to hunger and to cry out for milk.  The natural hunger is internally experienced and they make their voice heard.  As God’s elect, God expects that we are to hunger internally for the Word because it nourishes our living souls.  When we hunger, we are to cry out in need for the pure Word and faithful teaching so that we will grow spiritually.  This will enable us to ‘taste and see’ the goodness and grace of our Lord.  1 Pet 2:2-3;  Ps 119:103

Tasting Produces Seeing

Paul wrote to the Ephesian Church about the importance of ‘tasting’ the Word.  In seeking knowledge of God comes wisdom and revelation.  That ‘tasting’ produces knowledge of Jesus that gives sight.  Eph 1:17-19   Taste and see that the Lord is good.  Satisfy your hunger with God’s Word of Truth.  Find rest and joy in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.  Always endeavor to enlighten your eyes to see Jesus, our only true Hope of glory.   Taste God’s goodness and see that the Lord is good.  Now we will know the  hope of His calling and the riches of His glory in the saints.   Eph 1:18

Seek

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—  1 Cor 1:30 

Introduction

Seeking God  is a lifelong quest for every God’s elect.  What it means to pursue God with all our heart, soul and strength?  Why we should desire to do so?  Why is it beneficial and even essential that we continue striving for God throughout our lives by searching and sacrificing in order to experience Him to the fullest extent possible?

My goal in this sermon is to help God’s elect at NCCkl not only to understand these things but to be stirred up to act on them.

I hope God’s elect would be inspired to passionately, energetically and joyfully go hard after God with tireless perseverance and unyielding determination. 

God’s elect ought to know that seeking God to be the most valuable, priceless and desirable thing in all the universe.  Nothing in this life can compare to the incredible riches of seeking God through His Son, Who came by the water and blood to fulfill God’s righteousness that has saved our soul.  Let us examine what the Scriptures say on this important subject:

  1. Greatest Treasure – Wisdom Prov 8:11

Now, we might look at Prov 8:11 and conclude that it is not really talking about seeking God per se but rather that about the benefits of seeking God such as acquiring wisdom and understanding.  If we read all of Prov 8, we see that ‘wisdom’ here is not just an abstract idea but a Person.  It is talking about Jesus Christ, Who is the wisdom of God personified.  Prov 8 speaks of this wisdom as being eternal, as being the ‘craftsman’ at God’s side when He  formed the earth.  It proves that  “whoever finds Me find life” Prv 8:35   Paul confirms this in 1 Cor 1:24, “…..Christ is the mighty power of God and the wonderful wisdom of God.”  In other words, what we are being told in Prov 8 is that Christ is more precious than rubies, that nothing we desire can compare with seeking Him.  David expresses this same idea in man of the Psalms, for instance in Psalms 73:25-26.  Here, David is saying, “Lord, whether in Heaven or on earth, there is nothing  I possess whose value compares to You and there is nothing I desire except You.”. Everything else will pass away, my body will grow old and feeble and eventually my life will come to an end but You will be my portion forever.  This is what our attitude should be toward God. Rejoicing in the greatest treasure we have found in Christ through the Gospel of God’s Righteousness

  1. Surpassing Greatness – Righteousness Phil 3:7-8

In  comparison to  seeking Christ, Paul  claims that the value of anything else in  this world and even our own lives is negligible.  It is as if nothing else had any value at all.  In fact, it is as if everything else was a net loss when compared to the infinite worth of the Righteousness of Christ.  Do we live as if that were true?  Do our choices, our habits, our relationship and our use of time and money – do these indicate that we share this view of the ‘surpassing greatness’ of seeking Christ?  If we do have this attitude, it will express itself in seeking after God, doing everything we can think of, everything we are capable of and to draw closer to Him.

  1. Absolute Purity – Sanctification Heb 12:14

Heb 10:14 declares that “for by one offering, God has perfected forever those who are being sanctified”  In Christ, we are made holy and pure by grace through faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.  God’s elect ought to actively strive after personal holiness, seeking to purge moral impurity, laboring to cleanse our hearts and minds by constantly contending for our precious faith in Christ.  God is holy and righteous and so any movement towards Him requires a movement away from sin.  It is not instantaneous rather it is a process of growth that lasts a lifetime.  We cannot grow closer to God without the same time growing farther from the practices of sin.  Mt 5:8  First of all, that personal holiness, a life of warring against sin in thought, attitude  and action is absolutely essential.  No it is not what saves us – we are declared righteous in Christ on the basis of faith in the righteousness of God alone.  Jesus  moral perfection and His perfect obedience to the will of God are credited to our account through faith.  Although it is faith alone that saves, the faith that saves  is not alone.  Although a changed life is not a requirement for obtaining salvation, it is an inevitable consequences of salvation.  Genuine faith and  saving faith produces a zeal for holiness and a hatred for sin.  As Jesus said, again in the Beatitudes, Mt 5:8  “Seeking after God and hungering and thirsting for righteousness are two sides of the same coin.  When we undertake to seek God by striving for personal holiness, we should be prepared for a battle.  Seeking God is not a walk in the park.  Holiness is serious business.  As Paul writes in Gal 5:16-17.  When we come to faith in Christ, sins’ power over us is broken.  However, it still remains a part of us until we are in this dead body.  It is a constant conflict with the Holy Spirit, Who has now come to indwell us.  Only our faith in God’s righteousness can sustain us till we finish this spiritual race

Steadfast

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

1 Cor 15:58

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect who believe in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to understand that steadfastness is an essential principle in Christian character.  There can be no success nor prosperity in God’s elect when this principle is wanting.  The psalmist said, “my heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.”  This is true steadfastness.  It is resting and abiding in Jesus through the trials of life may be the severest possible.

It is a firm, fixed and settled decision to abide in the teaching of the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.

Many people claim their loyalty but steadfast people are hard to find.  Jesus declared in Luke 9:62 “no man, having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God.” Let us identify some keys to steadfastness that was evident in the life of Apostle Paul from Acts 21:1-14.

  1. Faith

Paul’s steadfastness serve as an inspiration and a challenge where any person who contemplates just settling for second best.  Based on Paul’s  unshakeable faith, we get an appreciation of the agony, fear and conflicts he endured in his thirty years of ministry.  Paul’s unwavering attention to God’s priorities makes him an example of how to remain calm, sober and reliable when others give up.  God’s elect ought to imitate Paul’s steadfastness in our journey towards faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness and kingdom building.

  1. Endurance

Paul’s difficult missionary journeys prepared him to face more complicated challenges that elevated him to the highest halls of human leadership.  Paul was able to articulate great leadership skills to major leaders of the day while speaking of his own defense. Paul was willing to endure so much adversity for Christ’s sake, even rulers curiously  beckoned him to talk to them about his motivations.  God’s preparation program often enables us to be able to accomplish far greater exploits if we are willing to let God put us in the best places.  God’ elect ought to trust God to use their years of steadfastness to propel them into greater places of service unto the Lord.

  1. Zeal

Paul’s steadfastness helped him to overcome the temptation of other weaker people.  While many other believers fall into all kinds of sins of omission, commission, wrong attitudes or faulty assumptions, a steadfast Christian zeal is able to avoid the trap of this corrupt world.  God’s elect ought to be so zealous with Christ’s service that they are facilitated in being delivered from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.

  1. Discernment

Paul’s steadfastness taught him to not listen to unwise people who urged him to avoid going to Jerusalem.  Many well-meaning people may offer misguided advice.  Paul chose to listen to the voice of the Spirit of God instead of those who were more concerned about his human safety.  A steadfast Christian will have to rely more on the Spirit of God’s teaching, prompting and leading than even their best friend’s counsel.  God’s elect ought to ask God to give them the steadfast discernment to hear God’s voice above any human persuasions.

  1. Commitment

Paul’s steadfastness come from his commitment to obey God regardless of the cost.  Even when Paul heard the prophetic voice of a good man urging him not to go into Jerusalem, he proceeded because he knew that real love for God is measured best by our obedience to His will. John 14:21  Steadfast Christians are going to remain solidly committed to the Gospel of God’s Righteousness, the growth of the Church and helping to fulfill the Great Commission.  God’s elect ought to ask God to help them to lead people to show greater commitment to the essential instead of many unessential desires.

  1. Humility

Paul’s steadfastness helped him to develop a spirit of humility and confidence.  He gained the realization that God could do whatever He wanted to do through him.  It is an insurmountable feat to transform ourselves into godly people without the Holy Spirit cleansing our former way of life.  Just as Job learnt, Paul surrendered his will to God in all things knowing that no purposes of God could be thwarted.  Job 42:1-2  God’s elect ought to ask God to teach them how to exhibit more of an attitude of humility, confidence and trust in God’s sovereign power.

  1. Inspire

Paul’s steadfastness proved to be a huge inspiration to the families in Tyre and wherever he went.  Tyre was decaying commercially but Paul gave them a greater means of obtaining prosperity.  Never underestimate the  positive effects that steadfast Christians can have on those around them.  Paul’s sympathy, affection and godly character blessed everyone he came in contact with.  God’s elect ought to ask God to teach them how to inspire others to greater service,  spiritual maturity and godliness.

Depth

“17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love”  Eph 3:17

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect who are established in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness to examine their spiritual depth in Christ.  God’s elect must have Christ in their heart and be rooted in love.  If they are not rooted, they will wither away.  Thus, God’s elect must desire the Gospel Truth and grow strong in Christ.  God’s elect must acknowledge that falling away from Christ is a serious threat and can happen to anyone of us.

This process of maintaining spiritual depth requires a continual abiding in the hope of the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection. 

God’s elect who have no spiritual depth has the  propensity to forsake the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.  How deep are your roots?  In most plants, the root system is a below-ground structure that serves primarily to anchor the plant in the soil and take up water and minerals.  Roots may be less familiar than the more visible flowers, stems and leaves but they are not less important to the plant.  The growth and branches of a plant will only be as healthy as its roots are strong and deep.  So it is with God’s elect.

How do God’s elect build a root system so strong that the winds of change or the storms of life won’t blow them from life dedicated to God?  Jesus answers that question in the parable found in Mt 13:3-8, 18-23.  The Sower went forth to sow.  Understand that the Sower represents Jesus.  In principle it applies to anyone who sows the seed of the Gospel of God’s Righteousness by the power of the Holy Spirit.  The seed is the Word of God.  There are four different types of soil which the seed comes in contact.  The four types of soil represent the various sorts of attitudes that man have towards the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.  The question God’s elect must ask is which type of soil best describes them.

The Wayside Soil

 It indicates a hard packed earth.  The soil does not lack fertility but it is hard.  Contact is made with the seed but because the soil is so hard, penetration is not made.  The soil would not allow any of the seed to sink in, much less take root.  The hardness represents the disposition to not believe.  This person is simply not interested in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness. Their heart is hardened to the truth of salvation.  What are the possible reasons for the hardening heart?  Pride, idols, fear of giving things up and perhaps worldliness.  As a result the seed quickly becomes bird food. The bird represents Satan.

The Rocky Soil

It suggest a ledge of rock covered with a very thin coating of soil.  The plants that sprang up had no deepness of earth.  With the rising of the sun, these plants were unable to withstand the heat.  Without a sufficient root system to provide moisture or nourishment, they soon withered away.  This soil represents the one who hears the Gospel of God’s Righteousness and immediately receives it with joy.  Unfortunately, the person has no root in himself but endures only for a while.  When challenges arises because of the Word, they immediately stumble.  This is not a stubborn or rebelling heart but one that lacks seriousness. The seed sprang up immediately because it lacked the needed depth.  A plant cannot survive that is not adequately rooted.  It could represent those who come to church on the basis of frills rather than for the Gospel Truth that can save their souls.  At NCCkl, we have learned that an emotional reception without a strong foundation based upon the Gospel Word will not enable one to stand against the tide.

The Thorny Soil

It implies the seed that fell on thorns.  Although the seed was able to take root and grow in this type of ground, it has no match for the head start and the extremely hardy nature which the thorns enjoyed.  Over time, the seed was deprived from everything essential to its growth and as a result was choked out of existence.  This soil represents the one who hears the Gospel of God’s Righteousness but whose ability to grow is choked by the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the pleasures of life.

The Good Soil

It refers to a sincere and good heart.  It hears and understands the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.  It hears and accepts by faith like a child.  It hears and holds fast the Gospel Truth.  It bears fruit and produces.  They will be like the Bereans, who were commended for being ‘fair minded’  as manifested in the way they received the Gospel Word with all readiness and searched the Scripture to find out whether these things were so.  Acts 17:11  Note the importance of ‘understanding’ in relation to bearing fruit.  When God’s elect at NCCkl understands, they will more likely bear fruit.  The key to understanding is having a good heart that is willing to listen and learn.  This soil produces in varying qualities.  Some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  Mt 13:23  Whatever our ability, we should exercise it accordingly.  1 Pet 4:10-11

Covenant Peace

“I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.”  Eze 34:25

Introduction

It is important for God’s elect to believe in God’s promise to take care of His covenanted people through the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection. Eze 34:20-25 tells us that when God appoints Davidian Shepherd, He would make a covenant of peace with Israel.  This recalls Ezekiel 16:60 where God said He would make an eternal covenant with them.  David in this case means the Messiah, Jesus, Who came from the line of David.

This eternal covenant of peace means the end of God’s wrath upon His people who believe in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness. 

It is similar to Isa 54: 7-10, also promising a covenant of peace.

We have seen that God’s wrath is terrible in the historical account throughout the Bible directed to those who disobey His Law and Prophets.  However, after each of this horrible event, God renewed His relationship with man.  Likewise, in the book of Ezekiel, God promised terrible judgment to Israel as an expression of His wrath, then promised a new covenant of peace.  God’s covenant is unilateral and there is no condition for new covenant of peace.  In  the Old covenant Israel had to obey God’s Law in order to experience His peace.  In Eze 34:25-30, God describes the benefits, restoration and salvation bestowed in the covenant of peace.

Covenant Peace Brings Benefits

According to the passage above, God will banish wild animals from their land so that they can live without fear of attack.  V 25  God will make the people and the place a blessing for others. V 26   There will be rain and it will rain at the right time for greater harvest. V 26  God will break their yoke and deliver them from the captivity V 26.  Their neighbors will have no power to devour them. V 28  They will not suffer reproach from unbelievers.  V 29  The end result of all this is that they will know that God is their God and they are His people.  In other words, they are in covenant with God.  They are His sheep, of His pasture.  Isa 11:1-9 describes a similar situation where Jesus restores man to the state of Eden, where there is absolute peace and harmony.  This will come about through God’s mercy and grace.  We can also notice the benefits of the covenant of peace in Lev 26:4-13 where God promised security and prosperity.

Covenant Peace Brings Restoration

Covenant is the way God relates to His people.  It is the destruction of the old that allows for the new.  After God destroyed the earth by water, God was able to proceed anew with Noah, making a covenant with him.  In Ezekiel, after destroying Jerusalem, God is able to proceed with a new covenant of peace.  In this new covenant God reverses the curse of the old covenant.  Where God make them vulnerable to their enemies before, now God makes them secure.  Where God made the land desolate under the curse, God now will make it productive under the new covenant.  The glaring differences, though, is the lack of conditions placed in the new covenant to experience peace.  God initiates Israel’s restoration for His own purpose.  Over all of this restoration, the main intent and purpose is for Israel to know that He is God. V 30  Likewise, Jesus said the gift of eternal life is to know God the Father.  The concept of peace with God is important to God’s elect.  Peace with God is brought to us by Jesus. The angels delivered it at the birth of Jesus.  We once were subject to God’s wrath.  Eph 2:3 says we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.  God’s wrath brings destruction.  However, today through the Gospel of God’s Righteousness, God’s elect have been restored with peace in Christ.

Covenant Peace Brings Salvation

The worldly mind does not take God’s wrath seriously because it does not take sin seriously.  Yet if sin is as bad as the Bible declares it to be, nothing is more just or reasonable for the wrath of the holy God shown against us.  In the OT there are more than 20 words used to express God’s wrath.  More than 600 passages deal with it…..We have to understand the horror of sin and the fullness of God’s wrath to appreciate the gift of salvation.  We have to convey this knowledge to others as we witness to them.  We have to convince our hearers of the unwelcome diagnosis before we can expect them to welcome the news of the remedy.  Personally if I had one hour with every man, I would spend the first 45 mins telling them about God’s wrath upon them because of sin and the last 15 mins talking about the great salvation found in the Gospel Truth.  Jesus presented the Gospel this way to Nicodemus in John 3.  He said God  sent Him to give eternal life to all who believe in Him.  John 3:16   Yet He said those who do not believe are “condemned already.”  John 3:18  They are condemned already because they are objects of God’s wrath.  What a horrible thing to be.  Now we  are at peace with God through the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.  Rom 5:9  Paul said in Rom 9:23 in contrast to the vessel of wrath we have become vessels of mercy who have received salvation by God’s grace.

Salvation Peace

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6-7

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect to experience salvation peace in their daily lives.  There are three basic types of salvation peace mentioned in the Bible namely, the peace of God that comes once we are born again  Rom 5:1, the peace of God that comes through total surrender to God in all things John 14:27 and the peace on earth that will come when Jesus Christ returns to reign in glory Isa 2:1-4.

Phil 4:6-7 deals with salvation peace that comes with total surrender to God in all things.

It is the peace of God in the time of trouble  that overcomes our worries and helps us to rest in the righteousness of God that contains Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.  The key to experience this kind of peace is when we have a thankful heart. 

Thanksgiving is an important theme throughout the Bible.  It is mentioned over 140 times.  David spoke about it in Psalms 103, Daniel practiced it in Dan 6:10 and Paul wrote about it in 1 Thess 5:18.

The key to experiencing the peace mentioned in Phil 4:6-7 lies in possessing a thankful heart.  Let me show you some reasons why I say that thanksgiving is the key to peace.

Thanksgiving Comes When We Look Up

Vs 6 reminds God’s elect that sometimes the cares of life that make us anxious and worry can make thanksgiving difficult.  Even God’s elect go through such moments in this fallen world.  John 16:33 ; Ecc 2:23   However, when we take the time to stop in our struggles and look up to God for His assistance, we will discover that we have many reasons for thanksgiving.  When we look up, we will discover that God is at work in our struggle  Rom 8:28,  God is ever present in our struggle Heb 13:5 and God is concerned about our struggles and He invites us to bring our needs to Him in prayer  Heb 4:15-16.

Thanksgiving Comes When We look Around

Vs 6 also suggests a life that is lived in a close and fully dependent relationship with God.  When we take the time to stop and look around at all the blessings we enjoy because of our relationship with the Lord, it is easy to see why we should have a thankful heart.  God’s elect need to stop and take a spiritual inventory of all the blessings we enjoy in the Lord.  Earlier I mentioned Psalms  103.  In that Psalms, David catalogues the blessings of the Lord and calls on the people of God to remember those blessings and to praise God for those blessings. Vs 1-2  Those blessings include forgiveness Vs 3, spiritual health Vs 3, redemption Vs 4, blessings Vs 4, satisfaction Vs 5, strength Vs 5, the Word Vs 7, God’s infinite mercy Vs 8, God’s family Vs 13 and God’s patience Vs 14.  God’s elect must think of all that we have in Christ such as love, mercy, grace, salvation, forgiveness, the Church, prayer, financial blessing, physical blessing, spiritual blessing and a home in Heaven.  When God’s elect take time to look around at all the blessings, then we can have a thankful heart even in the midst of struggle.

Thanksgiving Comes When We Look Ahead

Vs 6 mentions anxiety and worry.  Anxiety and worry flourish anytime there is doubt and fear.  The area of life most often that consumes us  with doubt is the future.  We just don’t know what tomorrow will bring and that lack of knowledge fills us with fear over the unknown.  Doubts cringes and manifest in fear over the disappointments, losses and trouble tomorrow may hold. Instead, faith in the righteousness of God for God’s elect welcomes the future with grateful optimism.  Faith looks ahead to the future with confidence because faith knows Who controls and plans tomorrow Isa 46:9-10   Faith knows the God Who safely leads His people through today and through all the tomorrows of life Ps 37:23.  Why can faith be so hopeful when it looks ahead?  Phil 4:8 tells us that faith focusses its attention on the things that glorify God.  Faith is thankful when it faces the future because faith does not concern itself with tomorrow.  Faith rests in the unchanging faithfulness of God.  Faith knows Who holds the future even in the midst of trial.  When our eyes are on the Lord, we can face the future with thanksgiving!

Conclusion

Thanksgiving is the key to lasting peace,  When we look up we will find abundant reasons for thanksgiving.  When we look around, there are even more reasons for thanksgiving.  When we look ahead, we can do so much with thanksgiving because we know Who holds our tomorrows.

 

Hope

”For this reason I also suffer these things; I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”  2 Tim 1:12

Introduction

It is pertinent for God’s elect to believe there is hope beyond the grave since Jesus Christ has opened the door to Heaven through His baptism, death and resurrection.  Hope is found in the promises God has spoken in His Word.  God’s elect can always hold on to the hope in God no matter what trials, temptations or pain they may suffer in the world.  Notwithstanding, allow me to assure  further that every death of God’s elect is no accident.  Do you think that the God whose watchful vigil notes the sparrow’s fall and Who knows the number of hairs on our head would turn His back on one of His elect in the hour of peril? With God there are no accident, no tragedies and no catastrophes  as far as the elect are concerned.

The Apostle Paul, who lived most of his Christian life on the brink of death, expressed triumphant certainty about life beyond the realm of time and space.  There are many triumphant affirmations in the Scriptures that rings with the immortal truth that the death of the elect is unlike the death of the unrighteous.  Though God’s elect have no immunity from death, death is to them a friend rather than a foe, the beginning rather than the end.  The death of God’s elect is not to be feared or to be shunned.  It is the shadowed threshold to the palace of God.

Let us observe some of these statements in the Bible about the triumphant death of God’s elect who are established in the righteousness of faith in the Gospel Word.

Death Is A Coronation

The Bible says we are pilgrims and strangers in a foreign land.  This world is not our home, our citizenship is in Heaven.  To those who are faithful, Christ will give a crown of life.  Paul said, “finally there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day and not to me only but also to all who

love His appearing.” 2 Tim 4:8   The picture here is that of a regal prince who, after his struggles and conquests in an alien land, come to his native country to be crowned.

Death Is A Rest

The Bible speaks of death for God’s elect as a rest from labor.  The Word says “blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…they may rest from their labors.”  Rev 14:13   It is as if the Lord of the harvest says to the weary laborer, ‘you have been faithful in your task, come and sit in the sheltered porch of my palace and rest from your labors – enter now into the joy of your Lord.’

Death Is A Departure

The Bible speaks of death as a departure.  When Paul approached his valley of the shadow of death, he did not shudder with fear, rather he announced with a note of triumph, “the time of my departure is at end.” 2 Tim 4:6   The word ‘departure’ literally means ‘to pull up anchor and to set sail.’  Everything that happens prior to death is a preparation for the journey.  Death marks the beginning not the end.  It is a solemn and dramatic step in our journey to God.

Death Is A Transition

The Bible speaks of the death of God’s elect as a transition.  Paul wrote “for we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” 2 Cor 5:1   Death of God’s elect is the exchanging of a tent for a building.  Here we are as pilgrims or refugees, living in a frail, flimsy house – subject to disease, pain and peril.  However, at death we exchange this crumbling and disintegrating tent for a house that is perfect  and eternal.

Conclusion

Do you think that the God Who has provided so amply for living has made no provision for dying?

Bear this in mind : the hope of eternal life rest solely and exclusively upon our faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection. 

Make no mistake with this.  When God’s elect die, they go straight into the presence of Christ to spend eternity with God in Heaven. An unsaved sinner who rejects the gift of salvation bestowed by the righteousness of God attained by Jesus’ baptism and death is destined to be separated from God’s presence for eternity.