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.

 

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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.

 

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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

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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 he 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.

 

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Heaven

1 Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me……. 7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”  John 14:1-7

 

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect to have sufficient knowledge about our eternal home.  Every person longs for stability in the midst of this changing world.  Hence, ultimate security can only come from knowing that we have an eternal home with God when we leave this world.

In the passage above, Jesus Christ speaks about eternal home for God’s elect who are established in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.  Let us examine the need for this eternal home, how Christ describes heaven  and what it takes to enter heaven. 

 

What Is Heaven?

When we speak about heaven, we do not mean the atmosphere or the vastness of space but rather we are referring to the heaven of heavens. This is where God and His holy angels dwell with the spirits of just men made perfect.  The Bible uses several names for heaven.  It is called a heavenly country  Heb 11:16, the city with foundations whose builder is God  Heb 11:10, the paradise Lk 23:43, the Father’s house and throughout the NT it is called the Kingdom of God.

 

Why Do We Need Heaven?

Heaven is the ultimate answer to the longing in all human heart for an eternal home.  This desire has been intrinsic to mankind since the days of Adam and Eve.  After they were created, they enjoyed ultimate fellowship with God.  Their sin against God cause them to be alienated and expelled from paradise.  As a result, there is now profound ignorance, alienation and deadness in the hearts of people because of Adam’s sin. Our hearts were also darkened and cut off from fellowship with God until we met the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that saved our souls. God has prepared an eternal home for God’s elect.  Our present existence in this fallen world is filled with trouble, tears, pain, poverty and misery.  This is why we must believe by faith in the finished work of Christ through His baptism, death and resurrection to enter heaven.

 

Heaven Our Home With God

After telling the disciples not to worry, Jesus began in John 14:2 to describe the heavenly home He has prepared for them.  “In my Father’s house there are many rooms.”  The Greek word for ‘rooms’ mean permanent residence for God’s elect.  Heaven is not a house or building but rather a home where we will enjoy sweet fellowship with God.  Our heavenly Father planned our salvation within the righteousness of God.  Though through Adam and Eve we were expelled because of sin but now through the redeeming power of Christ’s baptism and death, we are accepted  into heaven.  The goal of our lives  is to be in heaven with God.  Heaven is described as a glorious place 1 Cor 2:9; Rev 21:10-11,  heaven is a place of rest and security  Deut 33:27; Lk 11:25 and heaven is a place where we will recognize all God’s elect.  Mt 8:11

 

Jesus Prepares A Place For Us

In John 14:3, Jesus told His disciples that He is going there to prepare a place.  What did He mean by that?  In fact, the Father’s house already exist.  The problem is that we cannot go to heaven as we are because no unholy being can enter it.  We are by nature born sinners and the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness of men.  We can only enter after Christ Who has gone and prepared a place for God’s elect through His baptism, death and resurrection.  Isa 38:17; Micah 7:19; Ps 103:12   Sin cast us out from God’s presence but now through Jesus Christ we can come before God’s presence. 

 

The Only Way To Heaven

The remaining passage assures God’s elect how they will reach the heavenly home.  Jesus declared that He is the Way, Truth and Life.  No one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ.  The only way to God is through Jesus Christ.  Prov 14:12; Acts 4:12; 1 Cor 3:11; 1 John 5:12  

It is absolutely impossible to enter heaven any way other than through Jesus Christ.  There is no other way, no other truth and no other life.  The center and circumference of a true believer is Jesus Christ. 

Jesus said, “deny yourself, take up the cross and follow me.”  There is so much pseudo Christianity throughout the world and such Christianity has no power to save. The vast majority of people who confess to be Christians are not established in the Gospel Truth of God’s Righteousness which has the power to save. Unfortunately, many are misled by false teaching because they  seek temporal relief and carnal blessings.  They have no interest in heaven.  In fact, they do not even  desire heaven because they are having such a good time here on earth. Ps 73:25   To reach our heavenly home, we must have total entrustment of our will, mind and emotions to Jesus Christ alone. 

 

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Righteous Soul Infuses Healthy Body

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies [a]through His Spirit who dwells in you. “  Rom 8:11

 

Introduction

God’s elect ought to recognize that their righteous soul infuses healthy body.  Only those established in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection can possess Spirit infused healthy bodies.  As a result, the Spirit infused life enjoys a healthy walking relationship with God. 

A healthy walking relationship with God involves companionship, dialogue, intimacy, joint decision-making, mutual delight and shared dominion.

The walking relationship that Adam lost in the garden was restored in Christ which is why God’s arm of grace has been pulling God’s elect into a closer walk with Him.

God still likes to walk with God’s elect today. It is designed of God to establish God’s elect in an intimate friendship with Him that is walked out through the course of our every day lives.  The goal is to have a habitual fellowship with the Lord.  Let us discover through the life of Enoch what a Spirit infused walking relationship  with God is :

 

Whose Walk?  

Enoch was the first man in the Bible who walked with God. Gen 5:22-24  Even though man began to call upon the name of the Lord in the early days, Enoch was the first man to uncover the true delight of walking with God.  He found something even Adam did not experience.  He pressed into God until he learned how to have a habitual fellowship  with God through every facet of life. 

 

Which Walk? 

To find that dimension of a relationship certainly require an intense spiritual pursuit.  By taking Enoch up to glory, God was not trying to get us impressed with Enoch’s piety.  This was a unique experience that God used to emphasize a specific point.  God’s point was, “I love to walk with My elect!  Enoch was the first elect to truly walk with Me, so I decided to highlight his example by doing something extraordinary with him.  I took him up to paradise to underscore how much I value and desire a daily walking relationship with God’s elect.” 

 

When Walk?

Enoch’s example continued to witness to all generations of the great zeal God has to walk with His elect.  When the zeal of God captivates God’s elect, it will ignite them with a great passion to walk with God and to be His friend.  Imagine being Enoch, living 365 years and having this growing relationship with God.  One can only wonder what depth of intimacy Enoch uncovered.  As we draw close to God, He will not likely take us up to heaven as He did with Enoch.  However, God desires to reveal the beauty of His Face to God’s elect.  As we walk with Him, God will open the Scripture to us through the spirit of wisdom and revelation to reveal the light of the glory of God.  When we walk with God, we enter the dimension where God unfolds the secrets of His Kingdom. These are the paths that our predecessors of the righteousness of faith trod before us.  Noah knew the secret of walking with God Gen 6:9 as did Abraham Gen 24:40.  Through Christ, we too can explore the glorious riches of knowing God’s righteousness because we are infused in the Spirit. 

 

Why Walk?

God wants to walk with God’s elect before He works through them.  God will wait to act until He finds His elect through whom He can work.  To put it bluntly, God works with His friends.  When God has a friend, divine activity accelerates.  When God has a useful vessel that has been prepared for noble purposes, He will use that vessel.  God is looking especially for three crucial qualities namely humility, faithfulness and loyalty.  God wants to work with friends who are loyal to Him, no matter what.  The Lord will test our fidelity.  When we prove ourselves as His friends through the greatest calamities of life, we qualify as useful vessels for His righteousness. 

 

What Walk?

Jesus was the quintessential example of a Man who walked with God.  He walked so closely with God because He was always infused in the Spirit.  When the disciples awaken Jesus out of a deep sleep, He silenced the storm.  What an amazing attainment, to be awakened out of a deep sleep and to be instantly in the Spirit.  The secret place is where we develop a walking relationship or habitual fellowship with God. The secret place is not the destination, it is only the catalyst. Hidden in the secret place, we learn what God is looking for as friends and we find out what pleases Him.  Our inner chamber with Him becomes our training ground for a life that is rooted and grounded in God’s love.

 

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What The Bible Says About Our Body?

12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power……. 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Cor 6:12-20

 

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect born of the Gospel of God’s Righteousness to know what God says about our physical body. 

I have listened to thousands of sermons on what God has to say about our souls, minds, wills and our emotions but not much on our bodies.  While our culture is obsessed with physical beauty and sexy bodies, God’s elect seem to ignore their bodies as if they don’t matter. 

The Bible talks quite extensively on our physical body.  For the sake of brevity, let me show just one passage of the Bible taken from 1 Cor 6:12-20.  The passage is definitely a no-holds barred description of what God considers to the right and wrong use of our bodies.  We learn five radical truths about our bodies as God’s elect that run counter culturally to everything we hear today. 

 

God’s Property  1 Cor 6:13

The physical body of God’s elect belong to God.  It is God’s property and not ours.  We don’t own it, God does.  God created our body and He expects us to use it the way He intended for it to be used.  We naturally rebel against this idea.  Our culture teaches us that our bodies belongs to us and we can do whatever we want with it.  In contrary, God says our bodies were created by Him and loaned to us. He expects it to bring glory to Him.  As such, we should not compartmentalize our lives and think that we can divorce our bodies and live as if only our spirit matters.  God owns our body!

 

Purchased Possession  1 Cor 6:20

Jesus paid for our bodies when He received the baptism of righteousness from John the Baptist at the River Jordan and died for us on the cross.  Owners often think something they own as more valuable than it really is.  The reality is, something is usually valued with whatever someone is willing to pay for it.  If we want to know how valuable our life is to God, just contemplate on the willingness of Jesus to be baptized and die on the cross.  His arms outstretched and nailed to the  cross.   Jesus  was  showing this  is how valuable we are to Him. 

We are priceless to Jesus.  If we are worth dying for, don’t we think God wants us to take care of ourselves as God’s elect.  The fact is, Jesus has made the investment in us, He paid for our lives with His precious blood and expects us to take care of His investment.

 

Spirit Indwelt   1 Cor 6:19

God’s Spirit lives in the physical body of God’s elect.  When we believe by faith in the righteousness of God that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection, we are declared sinless and righteous.  God puts His Spirit inside us as a guarantee of our redemption in Christ.  When God puts His Spirit inside us, our body becomes a temple of God, residence for His love.  Hence, we would be deemed as abusing God’s temple if we deprive it of rest, sleep, over eat, put too much of stress on it and fail to take care of it.

 

Godly Stewardship  1 Cor 6:12

God expects us to take care of our bodies.  God’s elect are not the owners of their physical body but are merely caretakers or managers of it.  Taking care of our body is an issue of spiritual stewardship which many of us tend to fail.  In fact, God tells us that one day we will have to give an account for how well we managed everything He gave to us, including our body.  God’s elect must know that our life on earth is a test, a trust and a temporary assignment.  Our lives as God’s elect is a preparation for the next life which will last forever in eternity.  God is testing us on earth to see what He can trust us with in eternity.  He is watching how we use our time, our money, our talents, our opportunities, our minds and our body. Do not be short sighted in light of eternity.

 

Spiritual Body  1 Cor 6:14

God has promised to resurrect the body of God’s elect after they die.  God never waste anything.  He gets the maximum use out of all He creates.  Right now we are living in the 1.0 version of our body.  We will get the 2.0 version of our body at our resurrection when Christ returns.  We don’t really know what our resurrected bodied will be like but we do have a few clues.  We know that after Jesus came out from the grave, He walked around Jerusalem for forty days in the resurrected body.  Jesus was seen multiple time  by many different groups of people, including one event where more than 500 people saw and talked with Him.  Through Jesus’ example, we know that other people will still recognize us in the new 2.0 version of our bodies.  However, there will be one major difference where the spiritual bodies of God’s elect will be perfect, without blemish, no broken parts, no wounds and no pain.

 

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Peace, Power & Purpose

19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were [a]assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”  John 20:19-23

 

Introduction

God’s elect established in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection are endowed with peace, power and purpose.  The Bible has two parts : OT and NT.  The NT has 27 books, four gospels to  tell the life of Jesus, 21 letters to explain the meaning of Jesus for our lives, one history about the early church and one prophecy.  All 27 of them deal with Jesus as alive, risen from the dead and the central living reality today in the hearts of God’s elect and the world.

The passage above describes on Jesus first appearance to all His frightened disciples after the resurrection.  What did the risen Christ do and say to them?  The Scripture reveals three facts on how Jesus dealt with them.

Furthermore,  He prophetically bestowed three gifts on how to receive peace, power by His Spirit and our main purpose for existence. 

 

Three Facts In What Jesus Did  V19

The three facts on how the risen Christ deals with God’s elect today.

a. The doors were locked

Jesus did not have to open the door.  He simply was there.  This means that in our life, Jesus can  access to where no one else can.  He can access where no counsellors can, He can go where no doctors  can go and He can reach us anywhere and anytime.   Jesus’ resurrection from the dead fits Him to do what no one else can do.  It is a healing wonder to contemplate that in all the complete layers of our life, which neither we nor anyone else can understand, are familiar territory to Jesus. 

 

b. They were afraid

Their fear is totally understandable since their leader had been crucified.  In this fallen world under the rule of Satan, the need for risen Christ is paramount.  Fear originates from Satan and paralyses one’s life.  The risen Christ will come when we cry out to Him in our fear.  He helps us.  Isa 41:10

 

c. Jesus came to them and stood in their midst

The point here is that the risen Christ came right into the middle of their meeting.  He did not come to  the edge  and call out through the wall and deal  with them as a distant deity.  This is what Jesus wants for God’s elect today.  He wants us to experience Him, to know Him and to enter into our lives where no one else can go.  The risen Christ is within us and among us.

 

Three Gifts In What Jesus Says  V20

What did Jesus say in His first appearance to His disciples?  He gave them three gifts namely, peace, power and purpose.  Many lives are ruined by conflict, weaknesses and aimlessness as a result of sin.

 

a. Peace be with you

We don’t initiate peace with Jesus by our actions.  Jesus initiates peace with us.  It is important to note that before Jesus says anything about power or purpose, He wants to establish peace.  The order here is really important.  The peace that Jesus gives is before and underneath any of our empowered actions or any of our purposeful deeds.  The peace that Jesus offers the disciples is the peace Jesus attained through His baptism, death and resurrection.  There are five relationships where the risen Christ brings peace into the lives of God’s elect. They are peace with Jesus, peace with God the Father, peace with others in Christ, peace with ourselves and peace with the world.  Peace is first and it is a gift from God.  All else is the effect of peace, not the cause.

 

b. Power by the Spirit

In vs 21-22, Jesus gives power and purpose to the disciples who are to receive the Holy Spirit.  Jesus was going to pour out the Holy Spirit when He ascends into Heaven.  Acts 2:33   That happens about seven weeks after His resurrection.  In John 20:22, Jesus performs a kind of acted out parable, “He breathed on them and said to them, receive the Holy Spirit.”  He didn’t say, receive Him at the very moment.  He said in effect, realize that my breath, my life, my word will be in the Holy Spirit.  John 14:18   The power of the Holy Spirit is the only hope for accomplishing the purpose God has for God’s elect.  Jesus declared that purpose in verse 21b, “as the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

 

c. Our main purpose for existence

Jesus comes to us and gives us His peace with God.  Then He gives God’s elect power to do the kind of things that mere human cannot do like defeating our selfishness, loving others and treasuring Christ above all.  Along with peace and power, Jesus gives us our central purpose for existence.  Our great purpose of life is to do the will of God for the glory of God.  In vs 23, Jesus alludes the ultimate purpose to His disciples  “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”  What Jesus is saying is this “when we tell people about the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection through the power of the Holy Spirit, I am the One speaking through you, so that if anyone believes my Gospel Truth, I will forgive them.  If anyone does not believe, I will not forgive them.”

 

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