It’s A New Season

“And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.,.” 1 Sam 22:2

Introduction

Dear friends, Blessed 10th Anniversary!

It is imperative for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness which constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know that NCCkl is ushering in a new season. 

The Scripture above depicts a picture of our spiritual condition when we first started at NCCkl 10 years ago.  Don’t get mad at me, I do see that all of you are looking great today.  Somewhere back down memory lane, we came bound, oppressed, distressed, debtors, angry and bitter.  We came to Jesus with all our problems.  Jesus received us just like we were, just like David did with these 400 men.  The Lord saw something in us.  He looked at the worst and saw the best. 

 

  1. The Mission

Is anybody glad God saw something in us?  David looked and accepted a bunch of rejects and decided to turn them into the greatest military fighting force the world has ever seen.  They became an elite army of the highest level of courage, ability and integrity.  The Lord is doing the same thing with us at NCCkl,  building an army of soldiers to advance the Kingdom of God.  An army held together by commitment to God, the church and the lost.  An army made alive in Christ, full of force and energy.  It is not in the defense but on the offense to fulfill the Great Commission forcefully and aggressively by engaging and overcoming resistance.  Lk 10:19   Make no mistake, God is not speaking of everyone in the church.  He is speaking specifically to the elects that are consumed with the kingdom mandate to proclaim His sovereign grace. The elects are chosen to serve  in the frontline because they are best trained, best equipped and most qualified in the battlefield.

 

  1. The Vision

The Lord entrusted us with the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection so that we can set people free from demonic power and advance the Kingdom of God.  NCCkl is marching forward into a new season when so many churches have become lukewarm, self seeking, self preserving and self centered. God  is  raising up  a Vanguard Church.  Not a place where we hide out from the devil and pray for Jesus to come and deliver us but a place where we are trained, equipped and mobilized to take the world for Jesus.  I know this prophetic statement is not for everyone, it is a little too sharp and too penetrating for those who prefer comfort but there is a breed of people that know they were bred for battle.  They know God did not save them to fly away to Heaven but serve His righteousness on earth.  We are not just the family of God but we are also the army of God.  An army is made up of different ranking officers, each  is specifically trained and equipped to carry responsibilities and the authority of that rank.  The higher the rank, the higher and the greater the responsibilities as well as the authority. 

 

  1. The Commission

A Vanguard Church does not just happenMuch like the special forces of military services, the vanguard church is governed by God.  It must go through a process where God has to identify and call His elect and separate them from the main stream.  At first, this is very difficult because it feels like we are alone and isolated.  To be a vanguard church, we have to know that we do not rely on majority consensus for our confirmation of God’s call for our lives.  The vanguard church  demands extreme commitment, extreme loyalty and extreme passion towards God.  It is hard sometimes because we can be mistaken to be too fanatical.  This happens because true radical devotion and commitment to Christ exposes luke-warmness, half-heartedness and indifference in those who are mere church goers.  True unbridled passion and devotion to Christ always  awakens criticism and persecution from nominal Christians.  As your shepherd, I stand as a prophetic voice and declare what I am hearing what God is saying.  God is saying that He is not looking for a low-flying, don’t rock the boat and don’t disturb anybody kind of church because they are so preoccupied with the world.  God is looking for vanguard church.  Vanguard church is going to lead  the way passionately in sowing seeds of soul.  We are going to bring the lost out of the darkness into the light. 

I am anointed, called and appointed to lead the vanguard church of extreme radical Holy Spirit filled, devil hating and Jesus loving warriors into battle in the new season.

 

Conclusion

Vanguard means a position at the fore front of a new season with new ideas and development.  Moving together with radical passionate worship in pursuit of the Presence and the glory of God.  There will be a supernatural release of the Spirit and anointing of revelation that will begin to materialize in our minds like concepts and ideas,  The concepts and ideas are going to be so revolutionary that they are going to place us immediately in positions of influence and resources.  Let us stand today against the backdrop of carnality, slothfulness, spiritual indifference and take our place as the vanguard church of the Lord Jesus Christ in these last days.

 

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Sacrifice What?

 “And Abel brought of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat portions. And the Lord had respect and regard for Abel and for his offering,.” Gen 4:4

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness which constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know what sacrifice pleases God. The first recorded offering made to God is found early in the book of Genesis.  It says that God respected Abel and the sacrifice that he brought but it also said God did not respect Cain and the sacrifice that he brought.  Was it the sacrifice?  Was it the attitude?  Was it both?

The sermon for today is titled ’Sacrifice what?’  I would like  to highlight three points about the sacrifice that pleases God using Rom 12:1 which  the Apostle Paul was urging, fervently asking us to become.

 

  1. Sacrifice Must Be Total

There are a number of different animal sacrifices instituted in the OT.  In some of them,  the complete   animal was offered by fire and it would be totally consumed until nothing but the ashes were left.  It was a total sacrifice.  The animal could not just sacrifice part of his life and go on living the way it had before.  The sacrifice was total, it was complete.  It is clear that we are looking at such a sacrifice that had to die.  If nothing had to die, then there was no sacrifice.  Therefore, if we are to present ourselves as a living sacrifice, then something has to die.  In Rom 8:13-14, Paul explains what needs to die so that we can go on being a living sacrifice. 

A living sacrifice does not live according to the flesh because it leads to death but if by the Spirit,  we put to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live. 

When we become a living sacrifice, when we respond to God’s calling, we put off the old man, the old way that we used to live.  The sacrifice is total, we cannot cling to even a little bit of our favorite former ways.  Col 3:5-9  The totality of who we are must be committed to following God, our emotions, our thoughts, our desires, all of it.  For us to become a living sacrifice does not mean that we literally sacrifice our physical body but it does mean that we completely turn that life, the life that we have, over to God to use as He sees fit.  A total sacrifice is a continual sacrifice.  When we are a living sacrifice, it is not just a one time event in our lives.  It is something that has to be on-going throughout the rest of our lives.  1 Cor 15:31-32

 

  1. Sacrifice Must Be Holy

The verse in Rom 12:1 continues to allude that as living sacrifice we ought to present ourselves as holy.  To be holy is to be like God for He is holy.  A holy God wants to have a holy people.  1 Pet 1:13-16     Peter wrote that we are to be holy in all our conduct and behavior.  He says we are to be obedient children.  We must obey God to be holy.  Peter also writes here that we are not to conform ourselves to the former lusts.  It refers to the old desires that we had before we were born again by the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprises Jesus’ baptism and death.  This is describing again on how we need to put to death the lusts of the flesh and be led by the Spirit to be holy as God is holy.  To do that, we need to always have God’s Word in our mind and in our hearts to guide our actions.  To be holy, we must continue to practice righteousness by consistently meditating on the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.  God delights when we obey His voice.  To obey is better than sacrifice.  1 Sam 15:22  As a living sacrifice we need to be holy and pleasing to God.  It is vitally important that we obey God’s voice and strive to walk by faith in the holiness of God.

 

  1. Sacrifice Must Be Acceptable

A living sacrifice means to be acceptable to God.  Looking back to the sacrifice that Abel and Cain offered, God disrespected Cain’s offering because he denied that he was a sinful creature under the sentence of divine condemnation after the fall.  Instead of accepting and approaching God’s way, he offered to God the fruits of the ground, which God had cursed.  He presented the product of his own toil, the work of his own hands.  God refused to accept it.  This is to validate that salvation is only through grace by faith in the absolute finished work of Christ that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.  However, Abel brought the first born of his flock and of the fats portion.  It consisted the flesh, blood and fats of the lamb.  This acceptable offering represents Jesus Christ Who is the Firstborn that came by the flesh, blood and the Spirit.  Salvation is attained only when we bring Jesus, the perfect sacrifice given to us before God.  Lev 22:17-21   As elects, after being saved by Jesus Who came by the baptism and death, we must continue to bring Jesus our acceptable offering before God in all that we do.  A living sacrifice must be perfect  without  defect to be acceptable.  Which of us are free of defect?  Which of us are perfect?  How can we ever fit that description?  We can become an acceptable sacrifice,  free from defects  through Jesus Christ.  He gave Himself for us so that He can sanctify and make us holy.  We have been washed from our sins by His pure water and blood.  We have been made perfect by a single offering so that we can become an acceptable offering to God.  Heb 10:14

 

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Self Preservation Is Natural But Self Sacrifice Is Supernatural

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Rom 12:1-2

 

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness which constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know that self preservation is natural but self sacrifice is supernatural.  The entire design, finishing and materials of the tabernacle found in the OT sacrificial system depicts the portrait of Jesus Christ.  There was only a single entrance to God’s Presence within the design which is  the eastern gate.  Jesus is that door or gate, the entrance to God.  When we enter the tabernacle through the proper way, the first thing to greet us is the altar of sacrifice. 

Most of us would have preferred to find the ‘table of showbread’ where God makes provision for us but we find ourselves first at a place of sacrifice.  Nothing of real value comes to us without real sacrifice or we would not appreciate it. 

A biblical faith is one that recognizes the priority of sacrifice and willingness to give rather than receive. 

One cannot bypass the altar of sacrifice into God’s Presence.  Let us examine the materials, message and manifestation of a true sacrifice.

 

  1. The Materials Exo 38:1-7

The ‘acacia’ wood was the basic material of the altar.  It is a tree that grows in the desert under severe conditions.  This wood was chosen for its quality of being nearly indestructible, a shadow of Christ Who is eternal.   The wood was then covered with bronze. Bronze symbolizes judgment in the OT.  The altar of sacrifice by its appearance reminded the believers of God’s judgment.  It was on this altar that the sacrificial animal was presented for God’s judgment to be atoned for sin.  It symbolizes Christ’s ultimate expression of sacrifice when He took our judgment of death after taking all the sins of the world through the baptism He received from John the Baptist at the River Jordan. There were four horns on the altar to bind the sacrificial animal.  The wood of the altar symbolizes the humanity of Jesus and our sacrifices offered to God after being born again. There is no such  faith   for   an   elect  that  does  not  include  the  ‘sacrifice.’    Anyone that thinks they can live for God without a need for sacrifice will only find a dead Christianity.  The order of approach to God cannot be ignored or replaced with other means.

 

  1. The Message 1 Kings 1:50

Unfortunately, today we hear much preaching that attempts to draw people into Christianity that promises all kinds of earthly ‘goodies.’  The preaching that expects no sacrifice by the hearer is a hollow Christianity.  There is too much ‘shallow Christianity’ now in the world.  Christians who only want but do not give.  Jesus clearly taught us about sacrifice by His own statement, “I came into the world not to do my own will but to do the will of Him Who sent Me.”  The search for the real God will always bring us first to the place of sacrifice.  Sacrificial giving of an elect is displayed by one’s lifestyle, faith, resources and attitude.  The ‘horns of the altar’ symbolizes our becoming a willing bound sacrifice.  In 2 Sam 24:24, David clearly states that he could not accept for ‘free’  the land and the sacrifice from Araunah.  David would not offer a sacrifice to God that cost him nothing.  A commitment to Christ that is without sacrifice is no commitment.  There are enough worldly calls that promise ‘at no cost.’ This doesn’t work in the Kingdom of God.  A dynamic faith is real, it will not just have the appearance of sacrifice.  Jesus sacrifice of Himself through His baptism and death was the greatest and costliest.  He also brought us the greatest and most valuable gift, eternal life.  There is no easy cheap way to give the finest gift.  Faith in the righteousness of God and the quality of our new creation life will only be as good as the sacrifice we make because of it. 

 

  1. The manifestation Rom 12:1-2

Paul spoke clearly in the NT, “….offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.”  What is symbolized by the altar of sacrifice? The elect ought to be a living sacrifice.  One difference however, in the OT, the sacrifice was killed.  In the NT, Christ’s baptism and death  paid the price once and for all so that the elects do not need to physically die. We are to be ‘living’ sacrifices.  One problem with this, unlike a dead sacrifice, living ones tend to want to crawl off the altar, especially when they feel the heat.  This is when we need to take hold of the horns of the altar, to keep from leaving the altar of sacrifice.  We too must be bound to the altar by constantly establishing ourselves in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness  that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.  Paul says, “this is our spiritual act of worship” meaning the basis of spirituality is our sacrifice even in worship.  A dynamic worship service is not so much about what I get, as much as what I give through my sacrifice of praises, offering, time and talents.  The goal therefore is not to gain but to give.  Ironically, when we give we do gain.  The sweetest gaining come from giving.  The will of God is found in our life of sacrifice.  When we really give ourselves, we literally, ‘test and approve’ what God’s will is for us everyday and in every way.

 

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Have Your Way

“In whose hand is the life of every living thing, the breath of all mankind?.” Job 12:10

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness which constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know that our life is in God’s hand.  This is to ascertain that our lives hangs by a thread of sovereign grace.  God owns every soul.  God made us and we belong to Him by virtue of His being our Creator.

When an elect cries out to God, ‘have your way’ in my life, it is a sign of acceptance that God can give and take life as He pleases according to His infinite wisdom.  God never does anyone any wrong.  Job 1:20-21 ; 1 Sam 2:6 ; Deut 32:39 ; James 4:13-16   Our life is not our own.  It belongs to God and He decides what life is for.  In our message today, let us examine what matters most to Jesus when it pertains to a life of sacrifice. 

 

  1. Value The New Creation Life

Jesus does not want the elects to waste their lives after being born again.  If God wills, many of us have several decades to live on earth before we go back home.  All of us have to give an account of what we did with our lives.  A person’s “life does not consists in the abundance of his possessions”  Lk 12:15    Accumulating things is not what life is for.  This night our life will be required of us and then whose will this possession be?  No sane person on his deathbed  ever was comforted by his possession.  Lk 12:16-21 ; Mt 16:24-26   Is it possible to waste our life?  After embracing the Gospel of God’s Righteousness, few things should make us tremble more than the possibility of taking this onetime gift of life and wasting it.  More and more we smell eternity.  How can we use our lives well for God’s glory.  Life is so short and so fragile and so final.  We got one chance to live our life and then a certain judgment. Heb 9:27 We should decide resolutely that our remaining energy and freedom, we will pour out for Christ and His Church so that when we meet Him, we will smile at His Word, ‘well done good and faithful servant.’ 

 

  1. Essence Of The New Creation Life

What is the essence of the new creation life?  It is a life that puts the  infinite  value  of  Christ on  display for the world to see.  The  passion of the new creation life is to joyfully display the supreme excellence of Christ by the way we live.  Our new life is given to us so that we can use it to make much of Christ.  Possessions are given to us so that by the way we use them, we can show that they are not our treasure but Christ is our treasure.  Money is given to us so that we will use it in a way that shows money is not treasure but Christ is our treasure.  The great passion of the new creation life is to magnify Christ.  Phil 1:20-21   Paul’s all consuming passion was that in his life and his death Jesus Christ be honored,  that is, that Jesus be made to look like  the infinite treasure that He is.  The reason we have new life is to make Jesus look great.  Phil 3:7-8    Paul displays the worth of Christ by counting everything else as loss for Christ’s sake.  It is a life that uses everything to show that Christ is more valuable than it is.  Money is used to show that Christ is more valuable than money.  Time and talent is used to show that Christ is more valuable than time and talent.  Food is used to show that Christ is more valuable than food is.  Houses, land and cars are used to show that Christ is more valuable than they are.  Family, friends and our life are a place to show that Christ is more valuable than any of them.  We display the supreme worth of Christ in our lives by treasuring Christ above all things. 

 

  1. Essential Things For Living The New Creation Life

 

a. Life and death are given to us as a means to display the supreme value of Christ. Phil 1:20-23

b. The supreme value of Christ is displayed when we treasure Jesus Christ above all earthly things and all other earthly persons.

c. This treasuring of Jesus Christ above all earthly things and persons is most clearly seen in what we gladly willing to risk or to sacrifice in order to enjoy more of Him. 2 Cor 12:9-10

 

Conclusion

Are we going to waste our new creation life away with the rest of the world by striving to minimize our sacrifice and maximize our comforts in this life?  Are we going to work for the bread that perishes?  Build bigger barns? Lay up treasures on earth?  Strive for the praise of man?  Or will we see in Christ baptized, crucified and risen as all satisfying treasure of our life.  I believe when God raises up a generation like us at NCCkl, a completion of the Great Commission will come to pass.  It will not come to pass unless a generation is joyfully willing to lay down their lives. 

If our passion is to display the worth of Christ, treasure Him above all things, risk and sacrifice for the display of His supreme value, then God will use us mightily to fulfill His purposes in these last days.

 

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Sacrifice At Its Highest Point

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.”  Heb 11:17-19

Introduction

It is important for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness which constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know what is sacrifice at its highest point.  Abraham came to the place where he gave back to God what was always God’s in the first place.  Abraham’s faith teaches us to hold lightly what we value greatly. 

Elects ought to know that it is the kindness of God that led Abraham to Moriah to offer Isaac.  Likewise, it is God’s kindness that leads us back to the place of sacrifice where we yield up to Him our dreams, our desires, our plans, our hopes, the things we own, our loved ones and finally we give to God the life He gave us in the beginning. 

It is God’s kindness that is on display in this story. 

No wonder in Hebrews 11:17-19, the writer focusses on three aspects of Abraham’s amazing faith where sacrifice is demonstrated at its highest point. 

 

  1. Sacrifice At The Highest – Test vs 17

In reality,  this story presents several problems.  How could a loving God ask Abraham to sacrifice his only son?  Some critics have dismissed the story on the grounds that it presents a grotesque caricature of the God of the Bible.  It would have been enough if God had simply said ‘take your son’.  Instead, God qualified that phrase in three ways.  ‘Your Only Son’ – not forgetting Ishmael was also his son but meaning that Isaac was the promised son.  Isaac – the son for whom Abraham and Sarah had waited for 25 years.  ‘Whom You Love’ – which might seem as if God was mocking him but these words were to reassure Abraham that God knew what He was asking.  By saying it this way, Abraham would know that God understood what it would cost him to obey.  This is what God told Abraham to do, sacrifice your Isaac  by killing him and burning his body as an offering to God.  At that point, the man of faith only had two options.  Either you obey or you don’t.  If  you stop to argue, that in itself is a form of disobedience.  If you try to talk God out of it, that too is disobedience.  If you offer an alternate plan, that is also disobedience.

 

  1. Sacrifice At The Highest – Trust vs 18

At this point,  the writer wants us to think about what was at stake.  We naturally focus on the unimaginable sorrow of losing a child.  Nothing in all the world seem more trying than for parents to bury their children.  In this case, God told Abraham to offer his own son. Abraham was fully prepared to do it, so prepared.  In fact, Heb 11:17 actually says that Abraham ‘offered’ Isaac as a sacrifice, meaning that when he laid his son on the altar and raise his knife, Abraham fully intended to put him to death.  Naturally our minds focus on that aspect because it is so poignant and personal.  In Gen 12:1-3, God had said that He would bring forth a nation from Isaac’s descendant.  Here we are faced with what seems to be enormous contradiction.  God commanded Abraham to offer Isaac while having promised to bring forth offspring through  Isaac. The promise and the command seem to flatly contradict each other.  Abraham did not know how God would do it.  He just knew God would do it somehow.  Herein lies a lesson for all of us.  When God makes a promise, it is folly and disbelief to wonder how He will keep His word.  Faith does not reckon with ‘how’.  Faith believes and leaves the ‘how’ in the hands of  God.  There are times in life when our only job is to take the next step.  We aren’t called to figure out the big picture or to explain where it will lead.  This is the true life of faith.

 

  1. Sacrifice At The Highest – Triumph vs 19

In this verse, we learn something that is only hinted at in Gen 22.  Twice in that chapter Abraham intimates that he expects that somehow, some way, God was going to work things out so that Isaac would live.  Gen 22:5  Abraham believed that he and his son would somehow return together.  The writer of Hebrews tells us why Abraham could talk like that.  Abraham believed that God could raise the dead.  Gen 22:7-8   Abraham reasoned from what he knew about  God to what he knew about the situation.  Abraham offered his son, the Father offered His Son.  Isaac carried the wood, Jesus carried the cross.  Isaac was laid on the altar, Jesus was nailed to the cross.  Abraham was willing to put his son to death, the Father willed that His Son should die.  The ram was offered in the place of Isaac, Christ was offered in the place of sinners.  Abraham received his son back ‘figuratively’, Jesus literally rose from the dead.

 

Conclusion

What are we suppose to take away from this true story?  In summary, God is saying, ‘I asked for your most precious possession and you gave it to me.’

 

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Sharing Becomes You

“that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead…” Phil 3:10-11

Introduction

It is important for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness which constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know that Jesus is the greatest gift that God willingly shared with humanity.  Born as a Man on earth, the Son of God came to share His life with all men.  Through His baptism, Jesus took the sins of the world upon His body, experienced death for every individual person and was raised from the dead to secure our justification of faith in the righteousness of God.  

Likewise, elects born of the Spirit of Christ ought to share their life with others.  God has not stopped sharing His Son through us to those who believe in the righteous act of Jesus.  In our text, the Apostle Paul nicely sums up what the elects are supposed to be before sharing with others.  Christianity is definitely not a religion of rules and rituals that one must work to climb the ladder of heaven.  In fact, it is a personal growing relationship with the risen Christ that results in our growing conformity to Him. 

Our goal is to know Him and to become like Him in order to share our lives. 

  1. The Goal Of The Elect Is To Know Christ

Jesus said the same thing when He prayed, “and this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ Whom You have sent.”  John 17:3   Christianity is primarily a growing relationship with the infinite God Who has revealed Himself through the Gospel of God’s Righteousness.  As with all relationships, it begins with an initial encounter.  It is the same with our relationship with Jesus Christ.  Everyone has a story about their first encounter with Jesus.  However, we can know a lot about someone without knowing the person Himself.  As such, ‘sharing becomes you’  requires us to know who Jesus claim to be, things He did and taught, understand His baptism and death for our sins and that He was raised bodily from the dead.  Like any relationship, once we have met, we must cultivate that relationship. Cultivation requires time.   Closeness and intimacy are essential to foster strong relationship.  We cannot know the Triune God except as He has chosen to reveal Himself to us in the Word.  Heb 1:1-3

 

  1. The Goal Of The Elect Is To Be Like Christ

When we met our future mate, fall in love and got married, our life was permanently changed.  We would never be the same again.  It is the same, only much more so, when we meet Jesus as our Savior and Lord.  Jesus marks us for life, the more we spend growing to know Him, the more we are different.  Phil 3:10-11 shows the components and direction of the change that goes along with knowing Christ.

 

a. To be like Christ requires knowing the power of His resurrection. Eph 2:4-6; Acts 26:18; Col 1:13

Changes to one’s life is accomplished not through human persuasion or through self improvement program.  They require the same mighty power of God that raised Jesus from the dead. 

b. To be like Christ requires knowing the fellowship of His sufferings 1 Pet 4:19 ; Rom 8:17-25 ; 2 Cor 1:5

Our Savior came to suffer for our sins by accepting the baptism of righteousness and to be crucified on the cross.  His entire ministry was marked by misunderstanding, rejection, opposition, betrayal and death.  While we can never enter into His suffering in the same way that He suffered,  yet there is a sense in which we can never be like Him if we do not go through suffering and learn to entrust our souls to our faithful Father in doing what is right.  Fellowship points to closeness or intimacy.

c. To be like Christ requires being conformed to His death Gal 2:20 ;  Col 1:15 ; Rom 8:13

This phrase is related to ‘fellowship of His sufferings’  and grows out of it.  It also has another dimension which Paul describes in many other places, that of dying to sin and self through the baptism and death of Christ.  When we trust in Christ, we are placed ‘in Christ’ which means we are united with Jesus in His baptism, death and resurrection.  We have to live experientially what is true of us positionally.  This is what Jesus meant when He said that whoever follows Him must deny self and take up His cross daily.  Lk 9:23

d. To be like Christ will be realized in the resurrection from the dead Phil 3:11 ; Rom 8:17-21

Paul is referring to the future resurrection of the righteous at the return of Christ, when our mortal bodies will be transformed into the likeness of Christ resurrected body, free from sin.  We will then share in His glory throughout eternity.

 

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Emulate The Master

“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world..” 1 John 4:17

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness which constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know that it is God’s plan from the beginning to make man like Jesus Christ.  Emulating our Master cannot be achieved without spiritual maturity.  Spiritual maturity in turn cannot be achieved without a deep understanding and persistent application of the virtues of Scripture.  All we know, all we understand, all we believe about the truths of the Gospel of God’s Righteousness must come together into patterns of thinking which become habitual and then we must follow through with our words and our deeds as well. 

The Gospel of God’s Righteousness not only saves us but also teaches us to emulate our Master’s faith, perseverance, generosity and His wisdom. 

Let us identify some of the character traits of our Master that we the elects should emulate. 

 

  1. Servant

Without a doubt, Jesus was the ultimate servant.  Although He was praised as a great teacher and had a great following, Jesus made sure  to  teach  us  to  be  servants  by  actually  doing  it Himself.  Mk 10:45   Despite having the authority to get anything He wanted, have people praise and pamper Him, Jesus did the exact opposite by lowering Himself in serving others.

 

  1. Compassionate

Jesus never looked away from people but He always looked upon them and had compassion.  Mt 9:36  Whenever people were around him, Jesus understood what their real needs were and sought to address them.  At times, for some, physical healing was necessary, for others the root issue was spiritual. 

 

  1. Forgiving

One of  the  most  startling  things said in Scripture is found in Luke 23:34, when Jesus was on the cross and proclaimed “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  Even while bleeding and experiencing pain, Jesus had His heart set on forgiveness – even forgiving those who put Him there in the first place!

 

  1. Loving

Obviously, Jesus had a love for others.  If He didn’t, He wouldn’t be compassionate nor a servant.  Jesus claimed that there is no greater love than to die for others.  If anyone doubts His love, all they have to do is to look upon His willingness to be baptized by John so that He may carry our sins upon Himself and die on the cross for our sakes.  He endured with joy the horrible death so that we can be saved and sanctified in order to be rescued from this present wicked age and world order. 

 

  1. Prayerful

No matter how busy His ministry got, He found time to be alone and pray.  Whether it is the Garden of Gethsemane or on a mountain top, Jesus constantly prayed.  People always try to find Him and He never turned them away but He also made sure to make it a priority to spend time with His Heavenly Father.

 

  1. Committed

Jesus had no lack of commitment whatsoever.  Wherever He was, whoever He was with, He was fully committed to His goal and mission.  Despite praying fervently in the Garden of Gethsemane to avoid the agony of bearing the cross, He stayed completely committed to the Father’s will.  There were certainly many obstacles during His ministry but Jesus stayed on track and finished strong. 

 

  1. Humble

Jesus had every opportunity and right to demand praise and accolades for His miracles and teachings but He never did.  Even when the crowd sought to make Him King, He rushed away from their grasp.  He did not want to become a sideshow performance that people could enjoy.  Instead, He wanted to seek and save the lost and offer forgiveness for the sinners. 

 

  1. Self Control

Prior to His earthly ministry, Jesus spend time being tempted by the devil in the wilderness.  Although He was offered food, power and privileges, Jesus controlled His desires and submitted to the will of the Father.  Yes, He had desires for food and such but He had a greater desire to obey His Father and accomplish His will.

 

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Spiritual Harvest

“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest,  cold and heat,  winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.” Gen 8:22

Introduction

It is important for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness which constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know that the time of spiritual harvest which God has appointed is drawing near.  Therefore, the elects at NCCkl have a huge responsibility  to fulfill in these last days.  If we look around, we will find many signs of spiritual and physical decadence occurring rapidly. 

It is imperative for God’s elect to be properly informed about the Age we are in.  The world will become more chaotic and the ministry that NCCkl does will shine forth even more brightly. 

Spiritual harvesting must not be done out of obligation but must be done with faith which believes in the righteousness of God. 

In Mt 9:35-38, Jesus gives us a picture of the world being ready for a great spiritual harvest.  Jesus is seeking for laborers to gather the harvest into the barns. As elects, how should we respond?  The Lord told the disciples that there are three ways that people will respond to the needs of others. 

Elects ought to have an outward response, an inward response or an upward response.  Today, through this passage we are going to look at each of these responses since we may react in or more of these ways when we face hard times or when we see others in need.

 

  1. Our Outward Response vs 36

Jesus was affected by what He saw and He was moved with pity and sympathy in this verse. The word ‘compassion’ means to suffer alongside.  God’s eyes are eyes of compassion but what does He see?  Nearly all the population of the world currently are desperately in need of salvation from eternal death.  They are without a shepherd and aimless. They are constantly being harassed and severely attacked physically and spiritually.  Many are under the captivity of Satan’s deception and endure immense suffering.  How do we the elects see the world around us?  Are people mere passing trees?  We must look outwardly like Jesus with compassion, reflecting the concern God has for people.  Elects must view the world outwardly by putting on the  lens of God.

 

  1. Our Inward Response vs 37

If the word ‘compassion’ describes the vision we should have outwardly, the word ‘laborer’ in this verse describes the commitment we should have inwardly.  The Bible describes us as workers, laborers, servants, stewards, soldiers and ambassadors.  All these words convey our position.  We are at the disposal of our Master.  There are so many elects who will be rewarded someday not because they did something spectacular or had some great gifts but because they were faithful in what they did and how they did it.  God knows there would always be a remnant that would remain faithful to Him.  We must view ourselves as people at the disposal of our Master, Jesus Christ.  The elects must recognize their divine call  and  actively participate in God’s redemptive plan for mankind.  1 Cor 4:1

 

  1. Our Upward Response vs 38

In vs 36, Jesus speaks of the need of people.  In vs 37, Jesus emphasizes the need for laborers.  In vs 38, Jesus wants the elects to pray.  Prayer reminds us that we have a Master and the harvest belongs to Him.  We are His laborers given the greatest privilege to serve His Kingdom on earth.  As we remember our position as laborers, we should also remember Whom we serve, the Lord of Harvest.  We are called to pray but many of us are strangely indifferent about prayer.  Maybe we are afraid that if we pray for the Lord to send laborers, we will end up being called ourselves.  As elects, we are an important part of what God wants us to do in this fallen world.  Unfortunately, only a few elects are working for Jesus and that is why He says, “the laborers are few.”   Perhaps, the lack of laborers in NCCkl going into Christian service as a career is the result of our failure to obey Jesus’ command here in vs 38 – to pray for laborers to be raised up.  When we pray for the Lord to thrust forth laborers into His harvest, pray that God will give them the heart of a shepherd.  Pray that the Lord will give us a heart of compassion for the lost souls.  This is why we are in NCCkl – a beam of hope in the middle of a hopeless world.  Let us be God’s laborers, viewing people compassionately, submitting and praying to Christ our Master and allowing Him to use us for His purpose.

 

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‘Only Share A Word’

“Now when Jesus ……….only speak a word, ……….I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! “ Mt 8:5-10

Introduction

It is important for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness which constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to recognize that faith in the Word of God produces a wonderful and blessed life.  Blessed are those who have true faith in the Word of God.  Though we may have nothing to show before God, if we only have faith in His Word,  then the blessings will come to us in abundance. 

The passage about this centurion speaks to the elect that faith in God’s Word is the authentic faith before God.  God is pleased with such a faith. 

This faith comes when we believe in God, Who does everything and fulfills everything just with His Word. 

At NCCkl, we encourage and facilitate Word saturated fellowship among members to exercise their faith by ‘only sharing a Word’ with one another.  Let us identify several key factors found in this passage that enhances wholesome fellowship among fellow members that glorifies God.

  1. Why Is It Important For Elects To ‘Only Share A Word’?
  • Elects ought to share God’s Word because it encourages others to follow the path of righteousness by faith. We might not know the entire Word of God but if we share the Word, it releases supernatural healing and restoration to others.
  • Elects ought to share God’s Word because today’s Christianity is drifting away in a wrong current. The sad reality is that many are now following the mistaken faith based on emotions, experiences and materialism due to lack of wholesome fellowship.  Such paganistic beliefs will make inroads if it is left unchecked and cause erosion of genuine faith in the Gospel Word.  As a result, unbelief will slowly creep in and take center stage during our fellowship and will hinder progressive growth in the new creation life. 
  • Elects ought to share God’s Word because there is a huge difference between the faith of those who believe in pseudo gospel that consists visions, sign and wonders and that of those who put their absolute faith in the Word of God. Compared to the faith of the centurion, the faith of today’s misled Christians are one that seeks after miracles and signs for temporal relief. The faith of this centurion is the same as our faith which believes in the Word.
  • Elects ought to share God’s Word because the remission of all our sins is fulfilled by the Word of God. There is nothing that a paralyzed person can do on his own nor can a spiritually paralyzed person make his sins disappear by his own will. Elects saved from eternal death must constantly share the Word of deliverance to others. No one can receive the remission of sins and be born again apart from faith in the Gospel Word.  Heb 1:3 ; John 1:13
  • Elects ought to share God’s Word because God’s Church is a gathering of those who have been born again of the Gospel of God’s Righteousness. It is the gathering of the sinless and righteous, who are called to be the saints of God.  1 Cor 1:2  A place that enables one to put down their own thoughts and understanding, believe in the Word of God and saints sharing the Gospel Truth to others.

 

  1. Why Elects Can Be Bold To ‘Only Share A Word’?

The word ‘sharing’ sometimes sends a shiver down the spine of some elects.  There are many excuses elects use for not sharing the Word of God.  Here are some truth from Scripture that encourages us to take a bold step outside our comfort zone and into the exciting world of sharing our faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness. 

  • It is by the power of God that people are saved, encouraged and refreshed. It is not our effort, ability and this should take the pressure off us when people are not responding when we are sharing.
  • When we share our faith, we gain a deeper understanding of the Gospel of God’s Righteousness. In sharing, we ourselves are reminded of God’s awesome work in our lives.  This deepens our love and understanding of Christ.  Philemon 6 
  • When we share, be prepared for rejection. Even Jesus was rejected.  Success in sharing is measured not in the outcome but in our obedience to the command of Christ.  Mt 19:16-30
  • The Holy Spirit will give us the words. Lk 12:11-12  If God can speak through a donkey like He did in Num 22:28, elects should be no problem for God to use!  Take God at His Word. 
  • Our job is to plant seeds or water the soil. God takes care of the growth.  God is the One Who gives life both physically and spiritually.  We should take the opportunity given to plant seeds by sharing the Gospel Word and to water seeds already planted. Ultimately, it is God Who helps the person to grow.   

 

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The Servants Used By God

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!  Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!  Behold, your King is coming to you;  He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey..”  Zech 9:9

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know who God chooses as His servants and how they are used by Him.  Many are receiving the remission of sins  and we need servants to lead and  give them guidance in their walk with the Lord. 

Who then are those used by God?  Let us glean from Matthew 21 :1-11 to identify correctly the servants that God uses for His glory.

 

  1. God Uses Servants Untied From The World Mt 21:1-3

God uses those who have been loosed from their worldly ties.  Those who are tied to the world cannot become servants because they still hold fast to many things of this world.  Those who have been freed from the world are used by God as His precious instruments.  Among the elects, some can become God’s servants while others can’t.  Those who are unqualified to become servants are those still tied to carnal and material pleasures.  God loosens  the ties through His servants.  John 11:44  Our Lord Himself does not untie them  personally but loosens them through His servants.  The donkey mentioned in the passage was also tied to the world.  A stake was driven into the ground and the donkey was tied by a rope to this stake.  The donkey work for his master.  Just as the donkey is a worker to his master, we are also God’s servants once we are born again.  However, if we are still tied to the world, God cannot use us.  Only when we are released from the world can the Lord ride us and enter Jerusalem with us.  How many ties do you have that bind you?  One may be tied to his acquaintances, to his emotional attachments, to power, to basic needs or even to oneself.  All these ties must be loosened by God’s servant before we can be used by God, 

 

  1. God Uses Servants Redeemed From Satan Exo 13:13

When  Jesus and  His disciples came near Jerusalem, He said to two of His disciples,  “go into the village opposite and you will see a donkey and a colt.  Untie them and bring them to Me.  If anyone says anything, tell them that the Lord will have need of them.“  This is something only the Lord can say.  Jesus Who has redeemed us is more than able to do this because He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, including the donkey.  The Lord commanded His disciples to loosen the tied donkey and bring it to Him.  The disciples obeyed and did as they were told.   Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on this donkey.  All of us, without exception, must be put to death because of our sins.  However, by believing in the baptism and the death of the Lamb of God we have been born again and redeemed from the curse of the Law and Satan.  These donkeys, having received the remission of sins are God’s servants.  Even though we are Adam’s descendants and were destined to die for our sins, now having been redeemed through the Gospel of God’s Righteousness, we can be used as servants of God.  It is by using servants like us that God fulfills His will and purposes on earth.

 

  1. God Uses Servants That Are Lowly Mt 21:5

The Scripture above describes how Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem.  The King of kings was riding a donkey that was loosed from the bondage of the world.  He rode the donkey into the city out of humility.  The Lord is the King of Heaven but He entered Jerusalem riding on a lowly donkey.  In the Bible, donkeys refer to the descendants of Adam who have not been born again.  Adam and Eve, did not believe in the Word of God and disobeyed it out of stubbornness.  God described them as donkeys.  Someone who has a stiff neck and is stubborn is called a donkey.  Who are made servants of God?  Even though we are still as stubborn as donkeys after being born again, God continues to use us as His servants in our insufficiency.  While it is a donkey that Jesus rides, it is a special donkey that has been freed from the world.  It is glorious to be used in the work of the Lord.  The Lord works through us, the elect, the people of God who are imperfect and haughtily stubborn. 

God works in us so that we will not live for our own flesh but for the souls of others. 

We are so thankful to God for using someone so lowly like us.  We must desire to do the work of Jesus, that is, to serve the Lord.  How glorious it must have been for the donkey to carry Jesus on His back on that triumphant day.  When the donkey carried Jesus on his back, normally it was supposed to be whipped by his master.  Instead, the multitudes spread their clothes before the donkey.  I can say that the donkey enjoyed the greatest glory of its life time.  Even though there are countless donkeys in the world,  I believe that the donkey chosen and used by Jesus is the most blessed one.

 

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