Jesus’ Calling

History has recorded some of the greatest people that have ever lived. Mother Theresa, Florence Nightengale, Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King are among those we remember as being great. They all had a calling or vocation to which they dedicated themselves in service to others. They all took their calling seriously and hence were able to leave an indelible mark in the “sands of time”. What is your calling and are you dedicating yourself to it? Will you like these, make a mark for all eternity?

Each Christian has been called by God. Yes, your calling to be a scientist, a doctor, a businessperson, an artist, a singer, a craftsman is important and should be pursued with energy. Note, though that these vocations will not take you beyond this present life. God has given us a calling that will last throughout eternity. That is enough reason for us to focus attention on this calling.

Paul speaking about the Christian calling said, “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth”(1Cor. 1:26). God has called mostly the ordinary people of this world to manifest his wisdom and glory.

But why has Jesus called you and me? What has Jesus called us to?

God has called us to his eternal glory in Christ Jesus (1Pet.5:10).

We are called to inherit a blessing (1Pet.3:9).

We have been called out of darkness into his marvelous light through Jesus Christ who died for us (1Pet.2:9,21).

We have been called to be holy as God is holy (1Pet.1:15; 1Cor.1:2; 2Tim.1:9;1Thes.4:7).

We are called to share in God’s glory (2Thes.2:14).

We are called to eternal life (1Tim.6:12).

We are called to have peace with God and each other (Col.3:15; 1Cor.7:15).

We are called to one hope (Eph.4:4; Eph.1:18); the surety of eternal life.

We are called to live in the grace of Christ (Gal.1:6).

God has called us into his kingdom (1Thes.2:12).

This is a calling of a lifetime. Who can say “no” to it? God is inviting each and everyone alive to partake in this calling. God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. Everyone is called to salvation in Christ. Isaiah says, “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price”Isa. 55:1 For all who call on the name of Jesus will be saved (Rom.10:13). You cannot afford to miss this calling. You may not be a Mahatma Gandhi or a Mother Theresa but you can heed the call of Jesus and share in a vocation that surpasses all your wildest dreams.

Posted in salvation | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Infiltration of Mysticism – YouTube

Posted in Discerning truth | Leave a comment

Achan’s Sin: A Lesson for Christians

The failings of the nation of Israel were written as a warning for us that we should not set our hearts on evil things as they did (1Cor.10:6,11). The story of Achan and the destruction he brought on himself and his family is a stark reminder that God is serious about sin even though he is patient and long suffering.

The story is recorded in the book of Joshua 7:1-26. The battle for the city of Jericho was an unusual one. God’s instruction was that nothing was to be taken from the city once it was conquered. The soldiers were carefully briefed as to the rules of engagement for this mission. He knew that he was to take nothing. When the battle was over and the other members of his company had withdrawn to their base, he saw a beautiful robe from Babylonia, 200 shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing 50 shekels. A shekel is about 0.5 ounces or 14 grams in our modern weight. He had 2800 grams of silver and 700 grams of gold in addition to the expensive robe. Achan hid them in his tent. The gold was worth $27,821.37 U.S and the silver $1512.00 U.S in today’s market. It was forbidden, but he could not resist the temptation to take it. He probably went home thinking how this new found wealth would improve life for him and his family. Little did he know that possession of those items would be his downfall.

Later, the army of Israel was given another assignment. It was to conquer the small city of Ai. The city was so small that Joshua did not think it was necessary to send all of his troops on the mission. Israel expected a quick victory but to the surprise of everyone, Israel got a sound beating. Israel withdrew in ignominy, licking its wounds and mourning its losses. They knew that something was wrong.

Joshua held an inquiry into the defeat. After consulting God, he was led to Achan as the one whose sin had precipitated the humiliating defeat. Achan admitted his wrongdoing. A search of his tent revealed the hidden spoil. He was guilty of violating the command of God and the penalty was death by stoning. That day, he along with his sons and his belongings perished. Achan’s sin was that of greed.

What is the warning for Christians? Jesus himself sounds the warning against greed of all kinds. Our lives do not consist of the abundance of things we have. Stay away from greed is Jesus’ advice (Luke 12:15)

The Apostle Paul in Col.3:5 admonishes Christians to put away greed along with other fleshly desires. The love of money is a root of all evil. It can cause one to wander from the faith and bring horrendous troubles into one’s life (1Tim 6:10). Christians are encouraged to be contented and trust God to take care of their needs rather than using their energy to pursue wealth.

Achan put aside the word of God so he could satisfy his greedy, fleshly desire. He found out the hard way that his action did not bring the happiness and enjoyment that he thought it would bring. Achan’s story teaches us that we should set our minds on things above and not on earthly things. “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: … evil desires and greed, which is idolatry”(Col.3:2,5).

Posted in sin | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are You Abiding in Jesus?

Text: John 15:1-8

Jesus, the night before He was crucified emphatically told His disciples that if they abide in him he would abide in them. He further explained that abiding in him would result in them producing much fruit. Being apart from him meant that they would be like a branch that is severed from the vine. Such a person would be fruitless; would soon wither and die. Jesus told his disciples that they needed him in order to function like his disciples.

But how do Christians abide in Jesus?

We abide in Jesus by remaining in His love. The love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts and we are commanded to love each other as Christ loves us (John15:12). Love is the biggest theme in the New Testament scriptures. Love fulfills the law(Rom.13:10). One cannot love God without first loving one’s brother (1John 4:20). Love supersedes all the other gifts that a Christian could have and where there is no love, having the other gifts is useless (1Cor.13:1-3). The act of loving the brothers is evidence that the Holy Spirit lives in us and that He is producing fruit in us.

We abide in Jesus by being obedient to Him. Anyone claiming to abide in Jesus must follow his example (1John 2:6 ). We are called upon to walk in the light as Christ is in the light. This gives us fellowship with Christ and with the Father. Hearing the words of Jesus and putting them into practice will serve to keep the relationship between us and Jesus strong.

The new Christians in the Acts of the Apostles embraced and practiced the essential disciplines of adherence to the teachings of the apostles, fellowship, the Eucharist, and prayer. One cannot abide in Jesus unless one stays in His teachings. Straying from the message of the gospel, reverting to the law and other beggarly elements of this world is to cut oneself off from Christ (Gal.5:3; Gal.4:9-10). That is the very reason why Jude impresses on Christians to contend earnestly for the faith that was once delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

The Bible makes it clear that believers should engage in regular assemblies for the purposes of hearing the teaching of Jesus Christ, encouraging each other, praying with and for each other, giving thanks to God, and much more. (Hebrews 10:24-25; Col.3:16; Eph.5:19-20). Fellowshipping with each other would include the time when we meet for social activities like sports and picnics. There are times when we show hospitality by inviting poor brothers and sisters to have a meal with our family. In this way, we get acquainted with each other as we grow to love and appreciate other members of the body of Christ. Doing acts of kindness for one another, wanting to be among people of like faith to worship God and encourage our brothers, are all testimony to the fact that we have chosen to abide in Jesus.

The Lord’s supper has been given to help the church keep its focus on Christ. Whenever we participate in the table of the Lord we show his death until he comes (1Cor. 11:26). Sharing in the bread and the wine indicates that we all share in all that Jesus has provided for us by way of his sacrifice on the cross; that we have one Saviour and Lord Christ Jesus and that we are children and heirs according to the promises of God. Sharing in the Eucharist says that we are abiding in Christ and he in us. By eating and drinking the emblems of his body and blood, we symbolically show that we are willing to let him be the source of life for us.

Prayer is vital to the individual believer as well as the church collectively. Prayer brings us to the throne of God where we thank him, confess our sins, bring our petitions on behalf of others and ourselves, show our longing for his kingdom to come and asking God to open doors for the gospel to reach the unreached. Constantly seeking God’s grace and help proves that we depend on him and that we can do nothing without him. Acknowledging that Jesus is the source of all we need for right living and for doing his work here on earth, compels us to stay close to him in prayer. He is our life and so we hold on to him tenaciously.

Christians know that the devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1Pet.5:8). This being the case, we stay in Jesus; not just close to him but we in him and he in us. In this way we will not be devoured. Therefore, let us heed the words of Jesus, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you…”John 15:4

 

Posted in Devotional | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Does Faith in Christ Establish the Law?

What is Paul saying in Romans 3:27-31?  Is he calling Christians to keep the law while contending that no flesh is justified by the works of the same law?

In this 48 minute sermon, entitled “Faith in Christ Establishes the Law“, Pastor Eric Douma  gives an exegetical presentation in which he examines and extracts the vital details of Paul’s thesis as presented in Romans 3:27-31.

Watch and be blessed.

Posted in Law | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What is Your Destination?

Reading Luke chapter 16 verses 19-31 tells a story of life after death in two contrasting places. Here are my thought on these verses.

This story was narrated by none other than Jesus. If there is anyone who knows about the hereafter, it would have to be Jesus. Verses 19-21 describe the socio-economic state of the two persons in the story. The rich man had everything he needed – food, money, house, land, cars, boats, and all the other things that rich people have. He lived well. Lazarus, on the other hand, was a poor beggar. He had no money to take care of his food or health needs. He instead, had to settle for the leftovers from the rich man’s table and to get his sores cleaned by the rich man’s dog.

Lazarus died and angels took him to Abraham’s side. The rich man died too but there is no mention of Abraham’s side in his case(verse 22). Jesus said that he was buried. Of course, he would have had a big funeral with many influential friends and relatives in attendance. Imagine the eulogy describing what a good man he was, and the expensive burial plot that would allow for a marble headstone. My attention was drawn to the fact that in Lazarus’ case, Jesus did not mention that he was buried but he did so for the rich man. This was probably to emphasize the fact that what Lazarus had for a burial was nothing compared to what the rich man had. Lazarus, most likely had a pauper’s burial.

The rich man, somehow or the other found himself in hell.(verse 22) Jesus did not give the reasons why one man went one place and the other went to another place. To assume that the rich man went to hell because he was rich and the poor man went to Abraham’s side because he was poor is to read into the text, information that is not there. The rich man was in torment. He looked up and saw Lazarus by Abraham’s side. He shouted for father Abraham. At this time he must have been thinking that his social connections would put him in good stead with Abraham. He did not call Lazarus, but he asked Abraham to send Lazarus with some water to alleviate the torment of the fire (verses 23, 24). In this rich man’s eyes, Lazarus was still a poor beggar that he could use to get what he wanted. Maybe that was part of the the reason why he was in hell.

Abraham had bad news for him. Abraham was blunt with him revealing to him that the way one lives his life determines where one goes at death. Adding to the rich man’s predicament, Abraham made it clear that no help was forthcoming since Lazarus could not go to him, neither could he come to Lazarus (verses 25-26).  The jokes of people at death arriving at the wrong gate only to be redirected to the correct place, is truly a joke. Your arrival gate is always your final destination. Don’t you fool with those arrival gates.

Realizing that his fate was sealed, he implored Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his five brothers to avoid coming to where he was. Abraham’s reply was that they had the Bible and they need to obey it. The rich man said, “You do not understand Father Abraham, a dramatic miracle like someone coming back from the dead will really get their attention and they will repent.” (Verses 27-30)

Abraham concluded the conversation, “If they would not listen to the word of God, sending someone back from the dead would be a waste of time.”(verse 31)

Points from the story:

  1. The way you live this present life determines where you go at death
  2. You will either go to Abraham’s side or to a tormenting hell
  3. In hell there will be no one to help
  4. At Abraham’s side you will be comforted
  5. You cannot change places once this life is over
  6. Those who remain alive should not expect a dramatic miracle to convince them of the dangers of hell.
  7. Pay heed to the word of God in this life.
Posted in Heaven/Hell | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Believers’ Prayer

The book of Acts chapter 4 and verses 23 through 31 gives us a description of how the believers responded to persecution. The Jewish authorities thought that the crucifixion of Jesus had ended this new movement founded by the Jewish rabbi. To their surprise, the followers of Jesus began to preach that Jesus was the Christ and that He was resurrected. Their message to the people was that this same Jesus is in heaven at God’s right hand  and He offers salvation to those who repent and believe their message.

The authorities threatened Peter and John with imprisonment if they continued preaching about Jesus. The apostles told them flatly that they had their orders from Jesus and He was the one they would obey. On release from detention, the two apostles went back to the body of believers and told them what the authorities had said. The response was not to retreat but to pray. They raised their voices together in prayer. Verse24  Apparently they said the same words together. Verses 24-30 tell us the words they prayed. The result was that the house where they were meeting shook, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God boldly. (verse 31)  God answered their prayer immediately.

Two basic lessons learned from these believers are 1) When we face opposition we should pray and 2) All believers should be involved cooperatively in the spread of the gospel.

Posted in Prayer | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Shall We Do?

Acts 2:37-38 New International Version (NIV)

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

 

Posted in Repentance | Leave a comment

Repent

Acts 17:29-31 New International Version (NIV)

29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed.He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

Posted in Repentance | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Salvation Found in Jesus Alone

Acts 4:10-12 New International Version (NIV)

10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is

“‘the stone you builders rejected,
    which has become the cornerstone.’[a]

12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Posted in Jesus. | Leave a comment