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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.  

 

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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”  Mk 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.”

 

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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.

 

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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. 

 

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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.

 

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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

 

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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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