Sunday, December 26, 2010

HAVE YOU BEEN ADDED TO THE LORD?

ADDED TO THE LORD


Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon's Portico. None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed. (Act 5:12-16)
What does it mean to be converted? Does it mean getting a new cap of religion? In this book of Acts we have been interested in the conversions that took place in the history of the early church. We have seen how the Spirit moves in the hearts of people to bring them to a saving faith in Christ. We have also discovered the means that He uses to bring about these important changes in the lives of people. These means are brought to fruition through the ministry of the gospel which is effectual even during difficult times.
God is always working among His people to transform them and make them what they can never be by themselves. He works so powerfully to conform them to His likeness. This always has an effect both among them and among others. Therefore we need always to ask how our Christian living in our church is affecting our fellow believers and but even more especially among the unbelievers. How has the ministry of the gospel changed you and what has this transformation in you accomplished in others? We would like to meet with each of the categories of people who are exposed to the gospel.
Signs and wonders were done by the hands of the apostle (vv12,15-16)
Spectacular events always attract attention. The general account of the miracles which the apostles did is given here together with the effects of the apostolic ministry. The gospel spreads mightily although there is opposition from within and from without. The religious people like the Scribes, Pharisees and the Sadducees rage as they persecute the Christians; and from within the professing Christians are hypocrites like the couple, Ananias and Saphirah. Nevertheless the gospel is spreading and is bearing fruits.
The responses are diverse: some believed and were added to the Lord, others remained non-committal and therefore so many were left just as they were – sinners!
The miracles they did proved their divine mission. There were many miracles of different kind and often repeated. They were signs and wonders to prove divine presence and power especially in His mercy and grace. They were not done publically among the people so that they would be free to enquire and ascertain if there had been any fraud or collusion in them.

What were the effects of the apostolic ministry?

1. THERE WAS UNITY IN THE CHURCH (V12)

We read that they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. Isn’t amazing that the Sanhedrin would let them meet in the temple? How could they tolerate such a mob that they thought were blasphemers? It is because God is in control and allows what will bring a profitable honor to His Name. In this case it was convenient for the gospel to be spread. The convenience was especially in the continuity of public worship.
They were together in unity. They were there with one accord, unanimous in their doctrine, worship, and discipline. There is no indication of grumbling among them even after the death of Ananias and Sapphira, as there was against Moses and Aaron after the death of Korah and company: You have killed the people of the Lord, (Num.16:41). The separation of hypocrites, by distinguishing judgments, should make the sincere cleave so much the closer to the Lord and to each other and to the gospel ministry.
Their unity did not attract those who were not willing to give themselves fully to the work of the Lord. We read that, “None of the rest dared join them...”
Just like the plants and animals produce plants and animals after their own kinds, hypocrites produce hypocrites. But because this first church did not have a place for hypocrites in their roll, the Bible says that none of the hypocrites dared to join them. The coming of hypocrisy in the church is twofold – birds of a feather flock together. The church that does not have hypocrites in its roll of membership will not attract hypocrites. You realize what had just happened; two hypocrites had just been killed in order to be purged from God’s people. This is what awaits every hypocrite – to face eternal death.
Are we united as a church? Are we in one accord and in harmony in the service of the Lord? Do we seek to bring honor to the Lord through our unity? We need to know that our union in Christ is the major reason why we should star as one. Where there is unity the Lord clearly says that He will command a blessing (Psalm 133). God has no place for those who claim to be united in Him and yet divided – Is Christ divided? (1Cor.1:13)

2. THE CHURCH WAS HIGHLY ESTEEMED (V13)

The outsiders came to discover that there was something outstanding among these people and so they honored them highly. They sensed that what they had was not from men but divine. This is why they remembered that although these men were unlearned yet they recognized that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).
They also understood them to be favored by God the Mighty Maker. They got to know them and even represented them as the favorites of Heaven, and unspeakable blessings to this earth. What great blessings Christians are to the world – providing light and salting the world?. It is the Christians who have to give illuminating influence among sinners; otherwise God would destroy them all in a spur of the moment. It is because of the Christians that both the evil and the righteous are preserved together as the Lord said, “let both grow together until the harvest...” (Matt. 13:30)
Being together with a good Christian ought to bring wonderful blessing to you for he ought to teach you the way of the Lord and bring eternal blessings. Christians need to beware that their conduct ought to attract people to the Lord. Unbelievers, be advised that your eternal good can only come from Christians – not the angels or animals! Christians are God’s agents.
But also note that they did not exalt themselves. These were people who had nothing to boast of their own except Christ and Him crucified. They were those who did not think of themselves more highly than they were. They transmitted the glory of all they did very carefully and faithfully to Christ.
Notice that the church as highly esteemed by both the Christians and none Christians. Christians esteemed the church by the virtue that they had come to be part of it. The unbelievers esteemed the church in the sense that they came to witness what was happening in the church. They even brought their sick to be healed by the apostles. This shows a lot of respect for what the church was doing.
Are you proud to be a member of this church? How much honor have you brought this church? You need to evaluate how much honor people have over the body of Christ generally because of your influence. You need to ask yourself every day whether you have brought honor to the Body of Christ or disgrace. You also need to be well versed in scripture in to come up with more ways to bring esteem to the church. Every time when joining a local church, look at the situation in terms of what you have to offer to the church, than what you have to gain. That way you would be profitable both to yourself and to others.

3. THE CHURCH INCREASED IN NUMBER (V14)


We read that “more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,” and no doubt joined the church. When they saw that God was working among the apostles and disciples of Jesus, they also wanted to be part of it. They were not deterred by the example that was made by Ananias and Sapphira that they were rather invited by it into a society that kept such a strict discipline.

• Believers are added to the Lord Jesus.

What it means to be added to the Lord is to be joined to Him, the Saviour and the Redeemer off our souls. The One who has so expensively bought us at the cost of His own life. Being saved is being added to the Lord and consequently joined to his mystical body the CHURCH. Being added to the Lord means that we are permanently made to be part of Him, in Him, to be with Him forever. For in Him nothing can separate us or cut us off or pluck us off. He is very clear and categorical that is there nothing – neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Rom 8:38,39).
Is it nothing to you that Christ is willing to make you part of Him forever? He is willing to save to the uttermost those who will draw to Him by faith and repentance. What are you waiting for? If you are not saved, let it be clear to you that you have yourself to blame for it. And those who have been saved have Christ to thank for it.
Thankfully, although many have been brought to the Lord, yet there is room for others to be added to Him, added to the number of those that are united to Him. Moreover, more additions will still be made till the mystery of God shall be finished, and the number of the elect accomplished. The Lord of all mercy is calling out to you. And the call has gone out very clearly – “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Mat 11:28

• Salvation granted without distinction

Both men and women were saved. This is to say that people of both gender divide were brought to salvation. Men and women means all categories of people were saved. God does not discriminate, for He saves both men and women. Therefore no one is saved because he is either a man r because of being a woman. In the sa,e way there is no one who is not saved because he or she was in this gender or the other. Notice is taken of the conversion of women as well as men; more notice than generally was in the Jewish church, in which they neither received the sign of circumcision nor were obliged to attend the solemn feasts; and the court of the women was one of the outer courts of the temple. But, as among those that followed Christ while he was upon earth, so among those that believed on him after he went to heaven, great notice was taken of the good women.
Who were added? Believers only are the ones who have a portion in the Lord – it is neiother everyone nor any one. Only believers are added to the Lord. The bible is very clear that it is as many as believe are made to be children of GOD. You realize that they were added to the Lord. Union with the Lord for believers is a permanent offer. The opportunity to be with the Lord will last for all eternity. But still there is a question: Who added them? If you think keenly you will discover that that these new people did not add themselves to the Lord – they do not have that capacity for it was lost during the fall. Again they were not added to the Lord by the apostles. They did not add themselves but God did.

4. THE CHURCH SERVED THE COMMUNITY (vv.12,15,16)

There have always been people suffering from one sickness or the other. There are those who will die out of those sicknesses. However, the Lord moved Himself to beat witness to Christ’s power and goodness in order to attract men to Himself, by the power of HIS grace. So because the apostles had many patients they brought to the church a lot of reputation both to themselves and their teaching by the cure of them all. The many signs and wonders were done by the hand of the apostles brought to the people all manner benefits of them, both in city and country.
In the city: They brought forth their sick into the streets. It might be that the temple rules could not allow the sick to enter in. it might be that the apostles were too busy to go to their houses. And they laid them on beds and couches (because they were so weak that they could neither go nor stand), that at the least the shadow of Peter, passing by, might overshadow some of them, though it could not reach them all; and, it should seem, it had the desired effect, as the woman's touch of the hem of Christ's garment had; and in this, among other things, that word of Christ was fulfilled, Greater works than these shall you do. God expresses his care of his people, by his being their shade on their right hand
Peter comes between them and the sun, and so heals them, cuts them off from a dependence upon creature sufficiency as insufficient, that they may expect help only from that Spirit of grace with whom he was filled.
In the country towns: Multitudes came to Jerusalem from the cities round about, bringing sick folks that were afflicted in body, and those that were afflicted with unclean spirits, that were troubled in mind, and they were healed every one; both sick bodies and minds were made whole.
Therefore, the apostles were given opportunity to convince people's judgments by these miracles of the heavenly origin of the gospel they preached. It was also an opportunity to engage people's wills by giving them an example of its beneficial tendency to the welfare of this lower world.
What is it that we are doing as a church to serve the community? At least we are helping in the schools in Pokot North and Rendille. What is that we are doing here in Nairobi to serve the community? This would be a natural way of evangelizing and in so doing we would reach those who would otherwise remained unreached.
But most important is to seek to bring all honor and glory to the Lord who is the source of all the blessings that we give to the world freely. We should give freely just as we have received, that all praise and honor may go to the Lord.

May we seek as a church to be a church that has been influenced by the ministry of the gospel in these four ways that Christ may be honored.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

CHRIST IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON

December 25

“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
- Isa_7:14

Let us to-day go down to Bethlehem, and in company with wondering shepherds and adoring Magi, let us see him who was born King of the Jews, for we by faith can claim an interest in him, and can sing, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.” Jesus is Jehovah incarnate, our Lord and our God, and yet our brother and friend; let us adore and admire. Let us notice at the very first glance his miraculous conception. It was a thing unheard of before, and unparalleled since, that a virgin should conceive and bear a Son. The first promise ran thus, “The seed of the woman,” not the offspring of the man. Since venturous woman led the way in the sin which brought forth Paradise lost, she, and she alone, ushers in the Regainer of Paradise. Our Saviour, although truly man, was as to his human nature the Holy One of God. Let us reverently bow before the holy Child whose innocence restores to manhood its ancient glory; and let us pray that he may be formed in us, the hope of glory. Fail not to note his humble parentage. His mother has been described simply as “a virgin,” not a princess, or prophetess, nor a matron of large estate. True the blood of kings ran in her veins; nor was her mind a weak and untaught one, for she could sing most sweetly a song of praise; but yet how humble her position, how poor the man to whom she stood affianced, and how miserable the accommodation afforded to the new-born King!
Immanuel, God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our lifework, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and Second Advent splendour.

“And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.”
- Job_1:5
What the patriarch did early in the morning, after the family festivities, it will be well for the believer to do for himself ere he rests tonight. Amid the cheerfulness of household gatherings it is easy to slide into sinful levities, and to forget our avowed character as Christians. It ought not to be so, but so it is, that our days of feasting are very seldom days of sanctified enjoyment, but too frequently degenerate into unhallowed mirth. There is a way of joy as pure and sanctifying as though one bathed in the rivers of Eden: holy gratitude should be quite as purifying an element as grief. Alas! for our poor hearts, that facts prove that the house of mourning is better than the house of feasting. Come, believer, in what have you sinned to-day? Have you been forgetful of your high calling? Have you been even as others in idle words and loose speeches? Then confess the sin, and fly to the sacrifice. The sacrifice sanctifies. The precious blood of the Lamb slain removes the guilt, and purges away the defilement of our sins of ignorance and carelessness. This is the best ending of a Christmas-day-to wash anew in the cleansing fountain. Believer, come to this sacrifice continually; if it be so good to-night, it is good every night. To live at the altar is the privilege of the royal priesthood; to them sin, great as it is, is nevertheless no cause for despair, since they draw near yet again to the sin-atoning victim, and their conscience is purged from dead works.
Gladly I close this festive day,
Grasping the altar’s hallow’d horn;
My slips and faults are washed away,
The Lamb has all my trespass borne.
C.H. SPURGEON Devotional
E-SWORD BIBLE

Monday, December 13, 2010

ARE YOU A CONSISTENT CHRISTIAN?

ARE YOU A CONSISTENT CHRISTIAN?
ACTS2.24/10/10

ACTS 2: 42-47 Hymns: 4,150, 406,533,643

Introduction

How would you know that a person has been saved? Here is a case of a Mrs. Donga who comes to the church, she has confessed faith in Christ and so is a church member. She gets tired of the sermons and does not feel like attending the Lord’s Supper and prayer is not one of her best activity. She does not delight in the word of God but if there is one word that she can use to describe this whole experience is boredom. Obviously, these are things that she has not shared with you but she comes to the church occasionally, she misses the Lord’s Supper many times in a year. She does not attend prayer meetings. What would be your conclusion of such a person if you were her pastor?
Here is Mr. Kilele who receives the Word of God with gladness and joy. He is so thrilled about it that he goes round telling everyone what a wonderful thing that the Lord has done in his heart of forgiving his sins and granting him forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Looking at him closely you discover that after the first year he is so bored by the sermons that he daydreams during the worship service at best otherwise it is during the service that he plans his business plans silently in His mind as he admits when talking with him. He sleeps during the prayer meetings but mostly misses them. If there are, people who make him sick are the Christians because they seem to have this or the other need. Would you conclude that the person is saved?
The third one is Mr. Holyfield who does not even know particularly when the Lord worked in His heart but proceeds diligently in fellowship and his life is moulded within the context of the local church. He is aware of the work of the Holy Spirit in his heart to bring about regeneration and remembers to have repented of his sins and pleaded for mercy to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is steadfast in biblical teachings and to prayer and the fellowship of brethren. He is always available for all the means of grace that God has provided in the context of the local church.
These are the people that the Lord describes in the parable of the sower, some good seed fell on the way others fell upon the rock, others among the thorns and yet others on the good soil. (Luke 8:4-15)Which one of this person do we show the traits?
Last week we found out how God by His Spirit moved wonderfully in the constitution of the first church to bring three thousand people into the church. How he worked through the Spirit and His Word to cause them to believe in the Lord Jesus. We pursued the thoughts further to know the preparatory means that God uses to bring about conversions. These are: the Holy Spirit who regenerates hearts of sinners to cause them to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. He uses the prayers of the church to prepare the way for conversion of sinners. We also found out that the immediate means that cause conversion are the preaching of the gospel.
Today I would like us to consider how these converts continued in their newfound life and how this life produced more converts. Sinners are saved as result of the preaching of the word of God and the effects of this word in the lives who profess to have been changed. This calls for consistent Christian living. So the great question that I would like us to ask ourselves today is; Are you a consistent Christian?
This is because, practically speaking there are two reasons that make a sinner to be attracted to Christianity:
He/she is guilty stricken and so look for the Saviour who is able to deal with this sin like for the case of the three thousand who were converted on the day of Pentecost.
The second reason is admiring the way of life of the believers. Like the case of those who were saved subsequently after the day of Pentecost as we read in this passage. When I got saved I thought I saw people who had something that I admired in them that I knew that I did not have. The Holy Spirit moved in my heart to see what I lacked – the Saviour. Both are the sides of the same coin – one negative and the other positive.
This passage provides a litmus test that you need to apply to yourself and even to others to discover whether or not you or they are Christians.

1. THE LIFE OF THE BELIEVERS

How do we know that a sinner has been transformed from the darkness and conveyed into the marvelous light? To start with, he separates himself from the world then he joins the life of the local expression of the body of Christ and continues in it.
These people were formerly unbelievers who had rejected, condemned and crucified the only Saviour of their souls. They refused to receive Him as the long-promised Messiah but instead mistook Him to be an imposter and so thought that He deserved death by crucifixion. However, they were now convinced by Peter’s sermon and the miracle of tongues as well as the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. Being convinced, they received this message with gladness and joy as people who had known the hope of their eternal salvation and received Him as their Lord and the Christ. Let us look at their lives further as a pattern for ours
Occasional emotions are not enough – many have perished and many will perish in their sins who were often and deeply impressed and the Lord himself said that it is only the one who will endure to the end who will be saved.

A. SPONTANEITY

These new church met very naturally and proceeded as a church as such. They people met not under the social considerations of any sort or any compulsion, but willingly. They did it naturally from the fact that they had become members of this body. They were part and parcel of this institution and could not do any other. They did not come merely to perform a task or a duty. If you do not go to the church gladly you need to ask yourself whether you are a Christian at all. Christians do it gladly and cheerfully in order to meet with their Saviour in the company of His people. If it was not convenient to celebrate the Lord supper within the temple courts then they artlessly met in their homes. When there were poor among them they gave to meet their needs – they did not recommend them to a SOS, nearby. They took care of the poor in obedience to Christ and Apostles who told them to remember the poor (Gal. 2:10). Although the apostles never told them to sell their property to support the needy yet they gave with the joy of giving voluntarily and cheerfully (2Cor. 9:7). To pursue this matter to show their zeal for it they instituted the office of the deacons.

B. DEDICATION

The Bible says that they continued steadfastly and they continued daily. This is to say that they were constantly together. They were not just the Pentecost Christians (there are too many like that today). They persevered as Christians who were destined to be with their Master and Saviour. They served Him with commitment and loyalty continually remembering that He had given His very life for the remission of their sins. That He constantly remains at the right hand of God the Father in heaven interceding for them and for us also. How many times do we meet in a week?
According to this passage those people who do not go to the church or have not use for it are by definition not Christians at all. Those people who go to the church occasionally are at best very doubtful Christians. In this category are the people who go to the church with the least devotion and dedication. Those who attend the churches when there no interesting football matches in the Supersport. Those who find it hard to come for the Sunday worship service because the World Cup is on.
You may say that the economic situation then was different from ours in Nairobi. Granted – but the question is, do we or do we not follow the pattern? We are busy looking for food and wealth – these were the same things that these people were also doing. Look at the way we are dedicated to our jobs (which we ought to be) but it should not be at the expense of the spiritual things. We need to serve the Lord with a greater dedication than these brethren who devoted them this way. We are more privileged. How much are we committed and consistent in our calling. Imagine a Christian who when applied for membership and said that he will be helping in preparing the Sunday Lunch ye he has never gone to the kitchen? Where is our commitment to the Lord? Remember that it is only those who persevere in their first love up to the end who will have life.

C. DEVOTION

They were fully committed to the life of the church in its entirety. They were not just doing these things half-heartedly. It was with great enthusiasm and zeal. They were eager to spread the supremacy of Christ, to know Him and the power of His resurrection, and to be conformed to His likeness. They were new beings who wanted to live it. Their devotion to biblical teaching was total, their devotion the fellowship was unconditional, their devotion to prayer was absolute, their devotion to the breaking of bread was unqualified, their devotion to sharing their belongings was unconditional their praise to God was unparalled. Talk about devotion and you would find it here. This is the pattern for our taking; this is what we should aim to be as individual members of the body of Christ.
Let us examine the things that produce and sustain Christians who will last in this century and beyond.


 Have you been baptized as a believer?
 Do you delight in being instructed of the Lord?
 Do you enjoy the fellowship of the brethren?
 Do you savor the Lord’s Supper?
 Are you excited to commune with the Lord in prayer?
 Are you glad to share your property with others more especially the believe

This describes the enthusiasm these believers demonstrated in a common bond: at worship, at meals, and in the sharing of their material goods, showing their unity with Christ and with other brethren.
Do we take the needs of other people so troublesome that we prefer to keep them at bay? There were birds of your feather in the New Testament but they are denounced for their excuses (1John 3:17; James 2:15-16). We should not refuse to get involved in others’ troubles because we are members of the same body.

 How a consistent Christian are you? In Brotherly love and mutual charity. Remember what James says – Faith works by love.
 Do you take pleasure in praising God?
Do we conform to this picture? Is this true of us? Is this the sort of thing that we are doing and delight in?

2. THE EFFECTS OF LIVING A CONSISTENT CHRISTIAN LIFE

A. FAVOUR WITH GOD AND MEN

The Bible record that the life of these Christians received a favour from God. God blessed their fellowship. He worked a greater love for one another in their hearts. He gave them gladness of heart. God gave them generosity and bigheartedness. He made them to have a high regard for His people in order to show their love for Him. So they gave generously towards the needs Old Testament of those among them. God gave them unity of mind and heart and so were able to fellowship together with gladness.
God showed His favours to them working many wonders and signs through the apostles. Just as He had attested the work of Jesus in His ministry on earth so did He attest the work of Christ’s agents. He used them to bring forth His Word and when He did so, He manifested Himself as the one speaking by working signs and wonders. But more than that He saved sinners in their midst. The Bible clearly records that “the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”
They had favour with men – they were willing to bless one another even materially. They were devoted to fellowship in that they may be together.

B. CONVERSION OF OTHERS

Sinners will get converted when you will show that you are enjoying the graces that God has given the believers. God commands a blessing where brethren are at harmony with one another as Psalm 133 says. The best of the blessing that God does is conversion of sinners among His people.
Of course, who wants to join a miserable crowd? Who would like to be in the company of mourners? Who will want to live with people who have no excitement in the Lord’s blessings? But all will want to be with those who are under the shower of God’s blessings.
Do wish to see people being saved? Then we need to show them by our actions that the life of a Christian is the best not by our words but by our devout Christian living. We need to live our talk by being what we have been called to be. We must commit ourselves fully to the work of the Lord in order to attract more for the Lord.
Take this case:
All those who call themselves believers are all here at nine even 8am for the Sunday Worship Service. Each person is doing his or her duty – those who are singing are doing so – singing his or her hearts out. The Sunday school teachers are happy to teach and do it with such exuberant joy that others can apparently see how much they relish it. During the service no one is sleeping, instead, everyone is busy with his or her notebooks and when the service ends no none seems to be in a hurry. After the service, the brethren want a longer time of fellowship and so they had brought their lunch to eat together. The fellowship persists even to the evening service and everyone wants to prolong the time of fellowship together that nothing else seems to matter. If one has a need everyone is willing to contribute towards the need with such eagerness that the brother in need is the one who says enough! During evangelism is not just a few people who turn up. During the prayer meetings the hall is full. During the work day you are all here, During the Dine & Listen you all are here. When we go for the Lord’s Supper, it is an a time of applause of joy.
I want to remind you that because our time here on earth is short and hastening to conclusion – devote yourself and dedicate your whole life for this one thing- to please Him who has ransomed your soul with gladness of heart and of spirit and of mind. There is no one second to spare and this is why these brethren devoted themselves to the doctrine, to fellowship, to prayer, to breaking of bread. In addition, because of their dedication and devotion, God blessed them and others through them. Even bringing wonderful moments of refreshing through the salvation of sinners and were added to them.
Would we want this church to grow? Then you have heard our duty.
You are there, you have considered yourself and you have realized that you are a sinner who needs a Saviour. I will tell you a very simple thing that you must know and do. Jesus is the only one able to add you to the number of His people – turn to Him now. Acknowledge Him by repenting your sins to Him. Ask Him to be merciful to you, a sinner. Ask Him to take that terrible heart of stone, hardened by sin, that every sinner has and to replace it with the heart that will listen and obey Him. Put your trust in Him and you will be among His number when He will come and the saints go marching in to His glorious kingdom. Please do not leave that door when you have no relationship with the Lord Jesus.

ARE YOU A CONSISTENT CHRISTIAN?

ARE YOU A CONSISTENT CHRISTIAN?
ACTS2.24/10/10

ACTS 2: 42-47 Hymns: 4,150, 406,533,643

Introduction

How would you know that a person has been saved? Here is a case of a Mrs. Donga who comes to the church, she has confessed faith in Christ and so is a church member. She gets tired of the sermons and does not feel like attending the Lord’s Supper and prayer is not one of her best activity. She does not delight in the word of God but if there is one word that she can use to describe this whole experience is boredom. Obviously, these are things that she has not shared with you but she comes to the church occasionally, she misses the Lord’s Supper many times in a year. She does not attend prayer meetings. What would be your conclusion of such a person if you were her pastor?
Here is Mr. Kilele who receives the Word of God with gladness and joy. He is so thrilled about it that he goes round telling everyone what a wonderful thing that the Lord has done in his heart of forgiving his sins and granting him forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Looking at him closely you discover that after the first year he is so bored by the sermons that he daydreams during the worship service at best otherwise it is during the service that he plans his business plans silently in His mind as he admits when talking with him. He sleeps during the prayer meetings but mostly misses them. If there are, people who make him sick are the Christians because they seem to have this or the other need. Would you conclude that the person is saved?
The third one is Mr. Holyfield who does not even know particularly when the Lord worked in His heart but proceeds diligently in fellowship and his life is moulded within the context of the local church. He is aware of the work of the Holy Spirit in his heart to bring about regeneration and remembers to have repented of his sins and pleaded for mercy to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is steadfast in biblical teachings and to prayer and the fellowship of brethren. He is always available for all the means of grace that God has provided in the context of the local church.
These are the people that the Lord describes in the parable of the sower, some good seed fell on the way others fell upon the rock, others among the thorns and yet others on the good soil. (Luke 8:4-15)Which one of this person do we show the traits?
Last week we found out how God by His Spirit moved wonderfully in the constitution of the first church to bring three thousand people into the church. How he worked through the Spirit and His Word to cause them to believe in the Lord Jesus. We pursued the thoughts further to know the preparatory means that God uses to bring about conversions. These are: the Holy Spirit who regenerates hearts of sinners to cause them to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. He uses the prayers of the church to prepare the way for conversion of sinners. We also found out that the immediate means that cause conversion are the preaching of the gospel.
Today I would like us to consider how these converts continued in their newfound life and how this life produced more converts. Sinners are saved as result of the preaching of the word of God and the effects of this word in the lives who profess to have been changed. This calls for consistent Christian living. So the great question that I would like us to ask ourselves today is; Are you a consistent Christian?
This is because, practically speaking there are two reasons that make a sinner to be attracted to Christianity:
He/she is guilty stricken and so look for the Saviour who is able to deal with this sin like for the case of the three thousand who were converted on the day of Pentecost.
The second reason is admiring the way of life of the believers. Like the case of those who were saved subsequently after the day of Pentecost as we read in this passage. When I got saved I thought I saw people who had something that I admired in them that I knew that I did not have. The Holy Spirit moved in my heart to see what I lacked – the Saviour. Both are the sides of the same coin – one negative and the other positive.
This passage provides a litmus test that you need to apply to yourself and even to others to discover whether or not you or they are Christians.

1. THE LIFE OF THE BELIEVERS

How do we know that a sinner has been transformed from the darkness and conveyed into the marvelous light? To start with, he separates himself from the world then he joins the life of the local expression of the body of Christ and continues in it.
These people were formerly unbelievers who had rejected, condemned and crucified the only Saviour of their souls. They refused to receive Him as the long-promised Messiah but instead mistook Him to be an imposter and so thought that He deserved death by crucifixion. However, they were now convinced by Peter’s sermon and the miracle of tongues as well as the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. Being convinced, they received this message with gladness and joy as people who had known the hope of their eternal salvation and received Him as their Lord and the Christ. Let us look at their lives further as a pattern for ours
Occasional emotions are not enough – many have perished and many will perish in their sins who were often and deeply impressed and the Lord himself said that it is only the one who will endure to the end who will be saved.

A. SPONTANEITY

These new church met very naturally and proceeded as a church as such. They people met not under the social considerations of any sort or any compulsion, but willingly. They did it naturally from the fact that they had become members of this body. They were part and parcel of this institution and could not do any other. They did not come merely to perform a task or a duty. If you do not go to the church gladly you need to ask yourself whether you are a Christian at all. Christians do it gladly and cheerfully in order to meet with their Saviour in the company of His people. If it was not convenient to celebrate the Lord supper within the temple courts then they artlessly met in their homes. When there were poor among them they gave to meet their needs – they did not recommend them to a SOS, nearby. They took care of the poor in obedience to Christ and Apostles who told them to remember the poor (Gal. 2:10). Although the apostles never told them to sell their property to support the needy yet they gave with the joy of giving voluntarily and cheerfully (2Cor. 9:7). To pursue this matter to show their zeal for it they instituted the office of the deacons.

B. DEDICATION

The Bible says that they continued steadfastly and they continued daily. This is to say that they were constantly together. They were not just the Pentecost Christians (there are too many like that today). They persevered as Christians who were destined to be with their Master and Saviour. They served Him with commitment and loyalty continually remembering that He had given His very life for the remission of their sins. That He constantly remains at the right hand of God the Father in heaven interceding for them and for us also. How many times do we meet in a week?
According to this passage those people who do not go to the church or have not use for it are by definition not Christians at all. Those people who go to the church occasionally are at best very doubtful Christians. In this category are the people who go to the church with the least devotion and dedication. Those who attend the churches when there no interesting football matches in the Supersport. Those who find it hard to come for the Sunday worship service because the World Cup is on.
You may say that the economic situation then was different from ours in Nairobi. Granted – but the question is, do we or do we not follow the pattern? We are busy looking for food and wealth – these were the same things that these people were also doing. Look at the way we are dedicated to our jobs (which we ought to be) but it should not be at the expense of the spiritual things. We need to serve the Lord with a greater dedication than these brethren who devoted them this way. We are more privileged. How much are we committed and consistent in our calling. Imagine a Christian who when applied for membership and said that he will be helping in preparing the Sunday Lunch ye he has never gone to the kitchen? Where is our commitment to the Lord? Remember that it is only those who persevere in their first love up to the end who will have life.

C. DEVOTION

They were fully committed to the life of the church in its entirety. They were not just doing these things half-heartedly. It was with great enthusiasm and zeal. They were eager to spread the supremacy of Christ, to know Him and the power of His resurrection, and to be conformed to His likeness. They were new beings who wanted to live it. Their devotion to biblical teaching was total, their devotion the fellowship was unconditional, their devotion to prayer was absolute, their devotion to the breaking of bread was unqualified, their devotion to sharing their belongings was unconditional their praise to God was unparalled. Talk about devotion and you would find it here. This is the pattern for our taking; this is what we should aim to be as individual members of the body of Christ.
Let us examine the things that produce and sustain Christians who will last in this century and beyond.


 Have you been baptized as a believer?
 Do you delight in being instructed of the Lord?
 Do you enjoy the fellowship of the brethren?
 Do you savor the Lord’s Supper?
 Are you excited to commune with the Lord in prayer?
 Are you glad to share your property with others more especially the believe

This describes the enthusiasm these believers demonstrated in a common bond: at worship, at meals, and in the sharing of their material goods, showing their unity with Christ and with other brethren.
Do we take the needs of other people so troublesome that we prefer to keep them at bay? There were birds of your feather in the New Testament but they are denounced for their excuses (1John 3:17; James 2:15-16). We should not refuse to get involved in others’ troubles because we are members of the same body.

 How a consistent Christian are you? In Brotherly love and mutual charity. Remember what James says – Faith works by love.
 Do you take pleasure in praising God?
Do we conform to this picture? Is this true of us? Is this the sort of thing that we are doing and delight in?

2. THE EFFECTS OF LIVING A CONSISTENT CHRISTIAN LIFE

A. FAVOUR WITH GOD AND MEN

The Bible record that the life of these Christians received a favour from God. God blessed their fellowship. He worked a greater love for one another in their hearts. He gave them gladness of heart. God gave them generosity and bigheartedness. He made them to have a high regard for His people in order to show their love for Him. So they gave generously towards the needs Old Testament of those among them. God gave them unity of mind and heart and so were able to fellowship together with gladness.
God showed His favours to them working many wonders and signs through the apostles. Just as He had attested the work of Jesus in His ministry on earth so did He attest the work of Christ’s agents. He used them to bring forth His Word and when He did so, He manifested Himself as the one speaking by working signs and wonders. But more than that He saved sinners in their midst. The Bible clearly records that “the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”
They had favour with men – they were willing to bless one another even materially. They were devoted to fellowship in that they may be together.

B. CONVERSION OF OTHERS

Sinners will get converted when you will show that you are enjoying the graces that God has given the believers. God commands a blessing where brethren are at harmony with one another as Psalm 133 says. The best of the blessing that God does is conversion of sinners among His people.
Of course, who wants to join a miserable crowd? Who would like to be in the company of mourners? Who will want to live with people who have no excitement in the Lord’s blessings? But all will want to be with those who are under the shower of God’s blessings.
Do wish to see people being saved? Then we need to show them by our actions that the life of a Christian is the best not by our words but by our devout Christian living. We need to live our talk by being what we have been called to be. We must commit ourselves fully to the work of the Lord in order to attract more for the Lord.
Take this case:
All those who call themselves believers are all here at nine even 8am for the Sunday Worship Service. Each person is doing his or her duty – those who are singing are doing so – singing his or her hearts out. The Sunday school teachers are happy to teach and do it with such exuberant joy that others can apparently see how much they relish it. During the service no one is sleeping, instead, everyone is busy with his or her notebooks and when the service ends no none seems to be in a hurry. After the service, the brethren want a longer time of fellowship and so they had brought their lunch to eat together. The fellowship persists even to the evening service and everyone wants to prolong the time of fellowship together that nothing else seems to matter. If one has a need everyone is willing to contribute towards the need with such eagerness that the brother in need is the one who says enough! During evangelism is not just a few people who turn up. During the prayer meetings the hall is full. During the work day you are all here, During the Dine & Listen you all are here. When we go for the Lord’s Supper, it is an a time of applause of joy.
I want to remind you that because our time here on earth is short and hastening to conclusion – devote yourself and dedicate your whole life for this one thing- to please Him who has ransomed your soul with gladness of heart and of spirit and of mind. There is no one second to spare and this is why these brethren devoted themselves to the doctrine, to fellowship, to prayer, to breaking of bread. In addition, because of their dedication and devotion, God blessed them and others through them. Even bringing wonderful moments of refreshing through the salvation of sinners and were added to them.
Would we want this church to grow? Then you have heard our duty.
You are there, you have considered yourself and you have realized that you are a sinner who needs a Saviour. I will tell you a very simple thing that you must know and do. Jesus is the only one able to add you to the number of His people – turn to Him now. Acknowledge Him by repenting your sins to Him. Ask Him to be merciful to you, a sinner. Ask Him to take that terrible heart of stone, hardened by sin, that every sinner has and to replace it with the heart that will listen and obey Him. Put your trust in Him and you will be among His number when He will come and the saints go marching in to His glorious kingdom. Please do not leave that door when you have no relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Monday, December 6, 2010

THEY GOT CONVERTED (ACTS SERIES)

GOSPEL SPREADS EVEN IN DIFFICULTY TIMES
ACTS.4.5/12/10
And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand. (Act 4:1-4)

Jesus Christ came here to establish the Kingdom and He appointed twelve men to be the foundation of this kingdom. He prayed that more would be added to it who He expected to further the interest of His kingdom. Your relationship to this kingdom is known on this basis – are you carrying out the interest of this kingdom? Are you watching from a distant or are you fighting it? If you many think that you are just a spectator. But I would like you to know that if you are only a casual observer, then you are not only opposed to the kingdom but also fighting actively to destroy it. Many people are out to see the end of the kingdom of Christ the King but this passage will disappoint those who even imagine that they will succeed. The Kingdom that Christ is giving us is a powerful kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28).
How is this kingdom brought to sinners and how do they receive it? The kingdom if God is brought by proclaiming or preaching it. But what does the preaching involve?

1. PREACHING THE GOSPEL INVOLVES SPEAKING TO PEOPLE

We are told that, they were speaking to the people. These mighty men of valour, furthering Christ’s interests were not speaking to animals or to themselves – they were speaking to the people. Note that they were not discriminating those that they were speaking to – for we are told that they were not just speaking to the Jews but to the people. You realize that they did not start by asking who are the elect or reprobates – they were only speaking to the people who would led them ears.
The gospel of God goes forth to whoever would be willing to hear. It is proclaimed indiscriminately. It is propagated to all those who are near even those who are a far off. What they said concerned them all, and they spoke it openly and publicly. They taught the people, and taught them knowledge. They taught those who had not yet believed, for their conviction and conversion as well as those who had believed, for their comfort and establishment. They wished them well that they may be conveyed from the eternal peril to the marvelous light of Christ in which there is eternal security to those who will believe.
They spoke to people as they were – they did not ask them to mend their ways first and then get a dose of the gospel to make them super. They proclaimed the gospel to whoever would listen. It is among those who listens that Christians are made. Those who hear the gospel are the ones who receive the gift of faith, and those have faith are the only ones who are justified (For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Rom. 3:28)
The question for you is have you been hearing the gospel preached to you? Have you believed? What hinders you from taking seriously God’s warning of the danger of hell? What prohibits you from appropriating the promises of God to be yours but yourself?
Please I beseech you do not ignore this message as you have done to so many. Do not leave this hall the way you came. Do not go back obstinate sinner as you have always been because then you would be scoffing the only hope for you to be saved. The message has been brought please accept this message and trust the One who is making the promise of salvation to be able to save you to the uttermost for He is able. He has saved so many in the past and will save you as well if you will come to him in faith and repentance.

2. PREACHING INVOLVES TEACHING THE PEOPLE
Reasoning and reaching to their minds, the Spirit enabled the ministers to do their part, and the people theirs. They faithfully delivered on the doctrine of Christ. They informed their minds of the things of God because faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Rom. 10:17).
Uninformed minds provide the best soil for ignorant unbelief. He who knows the sinfulness of men, the holiness of God, the wrath of God on sinners but is informed of His grace, love and mercy that He is willing to extend to any sinner who will flee to Him in repentance and faith – he will for sure run to claim the mercy and grace of God.
He who does neither realize either the danger or the benefit that would befall him after doing something will remain aloof until the information reaches to his ears. Take for example a person in a burning building who does not know that the house is on fire, He will continue with his work as if nothing is normal until when the news will reach him and he will act completely differently. In the same manner, a person is going to act differently on learning that the fire fighters are there and that all is in control. Information makes the whole difference.
Therefore, preachers must aim to reason with the minds of the hearers in the simplest language and with the best of methods to make sure that God’s Word reach the ears of people that they may be saved. The best methods must be used (though it is not the methods that save). God has clearly revealed to us that He uses means and we should not taint these means with our sins and hinder the work of God to save.
In teaching them Peter addresses them directly, “But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:14,15,19)
You have been taught very clearly the Word of God. You have constantly postponed your conversion though the Saviour is willing. You have delighted in unbelief against all odds because the penalty has been paid and this wonderful has not been kept secret. Once and again you have heard one preacher or the other teach you that Christ is willing. Please hear this word today and do not harden your voice (Hebrews 4:7).

3. PREACHING INVOLVES PROCLAIMING CHRIST ALIVE

It is the Jesus who died for the remission of our sins whom we preach; it is the resurrected Christ who is the subject of the gospel. The theme of apostles’ sermons was ‘the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead’ (Through Christ of course). They did this by verifying and proving that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead. They preached the resurrection of Christ as their warrant for what they did (v.10). Look at how Peter does this “… the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,” (Acts 3:13,14) But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, (vv.18,19)
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead made everything else matter because in this case, the apostles were saying that the man who was blind by Solomon's colonnade was healed on account of Jesus’ resurrection. Because Jesus is alive, then this man has been healed if you deny this then you can deny your own name as well! The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the hallmark of Christianity – deny it and you will have denied the whole Christian faith. This is what Apostle Paul says very strongly in his defense of resurrection in 1 Cor. 15:14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain, And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”
Therefore this is the truth: “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”(1Cor 15:3-8). This should settle the debate about resurrection and should provide us with the reason for believing in Him for our salvation. Knowing this demands that we repent and turn to Him in faith.
They told the people what this resurrection secured to all believers. The resurrection of the dead includes all the happiness of the future state. This they preached through Jesus Christ, for it is only attainable through him (Phil. 3:10, 11), and through him only. Redemption is only obtainable through the Redeemer and He is One – the Lord Jesus Christ.
We preach Christ crucified, who died for our sins and is now alive for ever and we have numerous witnesses to this effect. Would you come to this historical Christ and turn over to Him and seek Him to forgive you your sins. I can’t believe that you can find the strength to live without Him. And for those who like me have put their hope in Him, may you be assured that He who began good work in you will bring Old Testament to completion. He is faithful and will surely make you to know and experience the inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1Pet. 1:4,5). Praise is to the Lord for He will for sure save us!
4. TRUE PREACHING DEMANDS A RESPONSE

It might annoy

It annoyed them that the gospel was preached so publicly and boldly and that the people were so eager to hear it. They thought that when they had put Christ to such a disgraceful death, his disciples would be too ashamed and afraid to own him. They had assumed that people would have impregnable prejudices against Christ and His doctrine. So it was annoying and disappointing that Christ’s gospel got ground, instead of losing it. The wicked shall see it, and be grieved, Psa.112:10. They were grieved at that which they should have rejoiced in –that which angels rejoice in.
It grieved them that the apostles preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. The Sadducees were grieved that the resurrection from the dead was preached, for they opposed that doctrine, and could not bear to hear of a future state, and worse to hear it so well attested.
The chief priests were grieved that they preached the resurrection of the dead through Jesus, for they could not agree to any honour to Him who they had crucified though their own consciences bore a contrary witness. Though they professed to believe the resurrection of the dead against the Sadducees, yet they would rather give up that important article of their faith than have it preached and proved to be through Jesus.
This is how so many even to this day treat Christ. They would not go to the church and they would not listen to preachers who preach Christ and Him crucified. Others prefer going to a church to be entertained by tantalizing music. They cannot stand being in a service like ours where it’s the Word of God that is given preeminence. Yet there are so many who only go to church to for various reasons – may to meet with their business clients or to meet their girlfriends, name anything but not to hear the Christ preached to them.

It might lead to persecution

It has been historically observed that sadly, wherever Christ is faithfully proclaimed, opposition is never long in coming. It is even more heartbreaking that the opposition was coming from religious leaders – the apostles were closely following their Master who himself was killed by the same hands of religious people. this is because there is servant who is above his master. This pattern is still the one that we as Christian should always expect. If they hated Christ who bore us, how much more will they hate us His offspring? The chief priests and their party now made head against them, and did what they could to crush them. However, all they managed to do is to tie their hands for awhile, but their hearts were not in the least changed.
They were the priests; you may be sure, in the first place, they were always sworn enemies to Christ and his gospel; they were as jealous for their priesthood as Caesar for his monarchy, and would not bear one they thought their rival now, when he was preached as a priest, as much as when He himself preached as a prophet
With them was joined the captain of the temple, who, it is supposed, was a Roman officer, governor of the garrison placed in the tower of Antonia, for the guard of the temple. This means that there were both Jews and Gentiles allied against Christ.
The Sadducees also, who denied the being of spirits and the future state, were zealous against them. “One would wonder” (says Mr. Richard Baxter) “what should make such brutes as the Sadducees were to be such furious silencers and persecutors. If there is no life to come, what harm can other men's hopes of it do them? But in depraved souls all faculties are vitiated. A blind man has a malignant heart and a cruel hand, to this day.”
How far they proceeded against the apostles (Act_4:3): They laid hands on them (that is, their servants and officers did at their command), and put them in hold, committed them to the custody of the jailor until the next day because it was evening. See how God trains up his servants for sufferings by degrees, and by less trials prepares them for greater; now they resist unto bonds only, but afterwards to blood as later, they killed Stephen the deacon, James the apostle and so many others who had trusted in the Right Saviour, so that throughout the New Testament the blood of Jesus’ is splattered all over.

It might lead to faith.

The hearers cheerfully received it (Act_4:4): Many of those who heard the word believed; not all - perhaps not the most, yet many, to the number of about five thousand, over and above the three thousand I preached about in chapter 2. See how the gospel got ground, and it was the effect of the pouring out of the Spirit. Though the preachers were persecuted, the word prevailed; for sometimes the church's suffering days have been her growing days.
Christ gave His life as a ransom for many and many are saved every day. It might not as visible as it was for the early church but it is sure that Christ is saving His elect. When the gospel message is sounded, God uses it to bring many to salvation. This day saw the increase of the church of Christ that is built on the rock so that gates of Hades cannot and will never ever prevail against it. Let the world be used of the devil to persecute the messengers of Christ who sound His message, let them do whatever they will but the gospel message will finally triumph. The world raged against Paul in Corinth, but Christ’s response is, “I have many in this city who are My people” Amen.
Those who like me preach the gospel have reason to rejoice because we have the assurance from Saviour himself that He is going to save those who are His. It might appear as if we are losing the battle like is was in this situation here – but no, Christ is going to save with the persecutors looking on. They will not stay the Hand of Christ from saving. Those who will have in Christ even now will be numbered with His people. Make sure that you are among the saints when they go marching in to the great inheritance to the great banquet. Please do not through your soul away go to Christ like these who made the number of the elect to be 5,000!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Effective Family Prayers

EFFECTIVE FAMILY PRAYER
“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” (1Peter 3:7)
Just like the Christian is bound by a Christian obligation to submit to her husband so is the Christian husband. He is not free to do whatever pleases him in regard to his wife. He has a reciprocal duty to perform. The husband is indebted to his wife to be considerate and respectful just like the wife is expected to pay the debt of submission to her husband.
1. LIVE WITH YOUR WIVES WITH UNDERSTANDING
You notice the word, ‘likewise’ shows the flow of the thought on the subject of submission that runs through this passage from 2:13. In addition, the thought of discussing the relationship between the husband and the wife is pursued further.
The concern here is for the Christian husband to be such as the Lord would want and so we men who are married must always keep on asking if we are fulfilling our roles well in the manner our Master requires of us.
Married, men who are saved are expected to be considerate and understanding husbands in relation to their wives. We are to love our wives in a Christian manner. In our love to our wives we are to demonstrate the love of Jesus that is revealed in the Bible. This is the requirement in Ephesians 5:25-33: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…”
You realize that there is greater lesson for the domestic relation that the Lord is teaching us. For it is the illustration of Christ Himself and the manner He relates with His church. Besides, it is also the illustration of how the body works within itself – because we are one body while in marriage. “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.” (Eph 5:28-30). For this reason we are to love them and not embitter them. If there is bitterness springing up then love is conspicuously missing.
• She is part of you
Just like the way a person will live with understanding with his own body, so should the husband to his wife. The woman that God got for Adam was, “a bone of his bone and a flesh of his flesh.”(Gen 2:23). This means that just like the way you would treat your own body so you should treat your wife in all matters. Imagine when you are sick the way you are tender Old Testament or when you have an injury somewhere and you think that others know but no someone steps on your toe that is hurting! Simply because they not are feeling the pain that you have.
• She is the weaker vessel
You are to be very careful to treat the wives with care, understanding that it is God who gave this woman to be your wife just as He gave you an eye or a heart. In this line then, the husband must dwell together with his wife in the same house, having left their parents. Husbands are bound in all ordinary circumstances to make their houses their home. Someone has said and rightly so, “It is absurd for those who have no prospect of dwelling together, to enter into the marriage state; and they who are already in it, should not be unnecessarily abroad.” Because such “live contrary to the nature of this relation who lives a great part of their lives apart…” as Richard Baxter has said. Live together with your wife and provide the companionship that you ought to provide. How can the members of the same body live apart from each other? This is what someone has said, “When a married man, a husband, a father, is fond of spending his evenings abroad; it implies something bad, and predicts something worse.”
Then there are then those husbands who never consult their wives, even leave them to learn of something from the third person! That is a recipe for a domestic disaster. It should be that that the two are one in all matters. What the left hand is doing the right hand should be aware naturally. This will bring bliss in the home for then they will be happy together because of the mutual trust they enjoy.
The Christian husband ought to conduct himself before his wife and the family like a well-instructed Christian man, who knows the Word of God and must therefore instruct his family in order to provide for the family both the spiritual food as he is eager to provide the physical food. Neither should be neglected.
2. HONOR YOUR WIVES
• She is a co-heir with of the grace
Christian husband and Christian wives are equally heirs of eternal salvation and this ought to make the husband to honor his wife. The true love is that which comes as a result of two heart which are both joined to Christ, having been reconciled to God. This is because any other beauty may fade but this one, which originates from God is the perfect one and is not dissolved even by death. Both have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. They have both been brought to God. They have their souls knit together by the Holy Spirit because they have true peace from God, they have the same future prospect of eternal hope of glory with God forever. They both help each other to stay focused heavenward to Christ the Author and Perfector of our salvation. For this reason the Lord helps them to live together as heirs of the life to come here on this earth as they will live forever.
This is what John Brown says, “the Christian husband, when realizes these truths, cannot but honor His Christian partner; cannot but treat her with cordial respect, as one, equally with himself, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ; already blessed with many invaluable heavenly and spiritual blessings in Christ, standing in a most dignified relation to the great God and our Saviour; already animated by His Spirit and adorned by His image, and destined to be one day perfectly like Him, their common life, when He appears in His glory; when she becomes an inheritor of that blessed world where they, “do not marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God.” (Matt 22:30).
Honor to the wife is calculated to bring a more loving and meaningful relationship. The wife is expected to pay respect to the husband (1Peter 3:2) and more so the husband. A husband ought to treat his wife in a manner that will make her a woman of noble character in words and also in preferential treatment.
“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." (Pro 31:28-29. We should praise our wives in order to encourage them in this journey which is difficult for them.
We should shoulder more burdens than them in terms of duty. We should seek to protect them from such dangers that lark around – both the spiritual ones (the devils roams around like a lion looking for someone to devour, Let him not get our wives) and also physical ones. It is our responsibility to make sure that our wives are in safe hands. Coming from Siaya I arrived at 1 am in town and I was shocked when I saw a heavily pregnant lady coming from work that late in the night. In the Old Testament the ladies especially when expectant were well taken care of in protection. When should be more cautious for we live in even more evil days than then.
Look at the way Christ has taken measures to care for His church:
• He has died on the cross for her
• He has gone up to prepare a place for her ( young men be advised)
• He lives to make intercession for her
• He has given us His Spirit to indwell us and sanctify us that we may be presented holy and blameless in His sight.
3. DO NOT LET YOUR PRAYERS TO BE HINDERED
The devotional life of the husband and wife is brought into the right focus here. It is taken for granted in this passage that the husband and his wife engage in prayers together. They pray for their relationship to prosper so that they may honor God. They focus in prayer to the Lord to sustain and keep them in salvation so that they both reach the promised inheritance in which they are both heirs. They converse in prayer to know how they can be better Christian husband and wife, father and mother, grandfather and grandmother and a better Christian neighbor and so forth. The question for you then is do you pray with your wife?
They pray for their children, a responsibility that they received from God and so ask Him to give them wisdom to bring them up in His fear and knowledge. They seek God’s help in providing for them the necessities of life. How much do you pray for your children?
The effectiveness of the prayers of husband and wife are so much dependent on the manner they relate with each other. Peter was a married man and he was speaking from experience. We need to heed this word. How do we treat our wives? Note that it is the husband who is reminded of what would happen where there are domestic squabbles because he ought to be responsible.
It is particularly the duty of the husband to make sure the family devotions take place. This is not to say the wife is not to ask that they pray. It is to say that the husband has to play the leadership role to make sure that family prayer is not neglected. He has to be there for his family, to lead it and to make sure that it is part of the family. Even the world knows that the ‘family that prays together stays together.’ I am not saying that the husband is responsible for the sins of the wife or vice-versa, both have a responsibility to help each other in the fight against sin and the devil, the world and the flesh. Both must help each other to grow in grace and truth. Both need to see to it that the other is increasing in his/her love for God and His people. Both need to ensure that the other is involved in the life of the church. but particularly the husband has to give spiritual leadership in the home so that family members develop their gifts in harmony within the Christian home.
When the husband fails to live with his wife according to the inspired Word of God and does not treat her as God has said, then he sooner finds that he is unable to pray for her. Likewise the wife who does not submit to her husband will find it hard to pray for him. Clearly we discover that God does not accept prayers that a Christian couple offers when they have strife and contention. They must be reconciled first so that they are able to pray together in peace and harmony and so enjoy the blessings promised.

Friday, November 26, 2010

ADULTERY IN THE HEART

Matt. 5:27-32

As we found out from the Ten Commandment, God’s law prohibits adultery (Ex 20;14) and the penalty for it was death by stoning (Lev. 20:10). Jesus concerned also about the Law of God to show how God’s standards of holiness are high and that we are far from reaching them. We do not have the ability of meeting the demands of the law. This is because although created the first man perfect, he fell into sin that affect all his faculties and affected all his offspring – we included. No one should be content that he is able to meet the demands of the law by reducing the law to his own imagination. It should be at the level that God wants in His Word that we should content ourselves. But you know the problem is that we are not able to meet them and this is the point that Jesus is putting across very clearly.

WHAT IS SIN?

Jesus is saying that the lust that would lead one to commit adultery would eventually lead such a one in hell. It is far much better to deal with the lust now than to deal to be dealt by the wrath of God in hell. Sin is not merely a matter of actions and deeds, rather 8it is something within the heart that leads to such actions. If you would deal with the source then you would have dealt with sin permanently.
Sin must be understood not in terms of the actions we commit but in terms of the power that causes us to do those actions, where the urge to do it comes from is the most important. What prods a person to sin – the root cause of the desire of covetousness, lust and the secrets of the hearts, is the major concern of the law.
Look at the corrupting nature of sin. It causes all the members or organs that God gave us to be so corrupted that because they so often cause us to sin they need even to be amputated and dealt away with permanently. Sin has a great ability to pervert and corrupt God’s instruments even to make them our enemies. Sin twists everything so that the very blessings of God are turned into curses that we want to get rid of. It is in this light that Paul says that the law that is holy and was meant to be good has been turned by sin to be something that actually leads man to sin.
Sin is very destructive then causing us to lose our members to evil. Sin destroys a person. Remember that it is sin that introduced death to the lives of men and to the whole creation. It always leads to death and o eternal punishment in hell. Therefore just as it is distasteful to God so should it be to us. We should and must hate sin with all our being. We should not let it to guide us and what we should do.

THE SIN IS MORE THAN JUST ACTION

The scribes and the Pharisees reduced this law to mean that, ‘You shall not be found guilty of the act of adultery.’ This was further distorted in the manner in which they helped men with very trivial excuses to divorce their wives using Deut.24:1 wrongfully. These are the misconceptions that Jesus was seeking to deal with in this passage. Adultery not is just the corporal action, that the scribes, the Pharisees and their traditions claim to be, but the deeper problem engraved in the heart of every Adam’s offspring. It is the lust and has deep problem coming from the heart of man (Mark 7:21).
The whole purpose of the law is to show the exceeding sinfulness of sin. The purpose of Christ’s death on the cross was because of the terrible consequences of sin and He was the only one who was able to deal with it. And He perfectly dealt with it by His vicarious death on the cross for He procured for His people a fully salvation. He fully satisfied the requirements of God’s justice. In Christ the full wrath of God was rested, for this reason the Father left Christ while He was on the cross to die and have the full effects of the punishment for sin.
Men and women were created for each other for companionship and commitment and this is why sexual relationship is part of it as gift from God. Adultery on the other hand is a sin that despises God and his commands, disrupting families and shatters people’s lives. The marriage is built on the foundation of faithfulness and commitment and so infidelity affects this companionship. The effects of infidelity and divorce are the same. Adultery is leaving the heart of one’s spouse for another and divorce is physically abandoning a spouse for a stranger and both have the same effects when they come to public.


THE EFFECTS OF THIS TEACHING

Evangelism can only be done in light of what the Bible has to say about sin as seen in the eyes of the law. Evangelism must start with the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, the demands of the law, the punishment meted out by the law and the eternal consequences of evil and wrong-doing. It is only the man who is brought to see his guilt in this way who flees to Christ for deliverance and redemption. True belief in Christ is the one that see in Him one who delivers us from the curse of the law.
Doctrine of sin is also very important in the true conception of holiness. The major problem of our day is that many people are satisfied with themselves because they are not guilty of some sins like adultery, and all the sin that goes with it like lust, pornography, and so forth. They have not been convicted of their sinfulness and so are not guilty of their sin. They therefore believe and think that they are right with God. They have never examined themselves and their hearts, although they know that the heart is deceitful above everything else.

May I urge to be make covenant like that was made by job, "I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin? (Job 31:1)
We should neither play with our own emotions nor the emotions of others because in so doing we haul both ourselves and others into the eternal flames of fire in hell. We should vow to treat other brethren in complete purity (1Tim5:2)
God’s design for marriage:
1. It should be a permanent commitment and He does not allow divorce (Malachi 214-16)
2. There is nothing like divorce on demand (Matt 19:8-9)
3. The only Biblical ground provided for divorce in this passage is infidelity
4. Divorce on unbiblical grounds implicates other people in sin
5. Someone who is divorced following such marital infidelity can remarry with Old Testament teaching acting as the backdrop that allowed for stoning the offending spouse making the other one free to remarry.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A DEBTOR TO MERCY TO ALONE

Author: Augustus M. Toplady, 1740-1778
Musician: Early American Melody

A debtor to mercy alone,
Of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with Thy righteousness on,
My person and off'ring to bring.
The terrors of law and of God
With me can have nothing to do;
My Saviour's obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view.

The work which His goodness began
The arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is yea and amen,
And never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now,
Not all things below or above,
Can make Him His purpose forgo,
Or sever my soul from His love.

My name from the palms of His hands
Eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains,
In marks of indelible grace;
Yes, I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is giv'n;
More happy, but not more secure,
The glorified spirits in heav'n.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

THE UNITY IN THE CHURCH

The unity of the church

Ephesians 4:1-3

Introduction

“It is certain that no subject has been more frequently dealt with in sermons, books, lectures, tracts and articles during the last and this century than the question of Christian unity. It is also equally true that it is the same subject that has caused a lot of confusion in the minds and hearts of churches.
Were it merely a matter of organization, it would not have been so serious; but as the exposition of this key passage in Ephesians 4:1-16 shows, it involves vital doctrines. The trouble generally arises because the advocates of what is known as the ecumenical movement are content to make vague general statements – often sentimental – or to emphasize one part of a statement instead of the whole.
We all tend to be the creatures of prejudices, and it therefore it behoves us to examine ourselves and our views in the light of this passage. That there have been sinful divisions in the past is painfully obvious; but the answer is not to be found in the amalgamation of organizations based on minimal truth. The greatest tragedy in the world today is not as, is as so frequently asserted that a divided church, but the fact that the above truth, and that many who are genuinely interested in truth are governed in their practice by traditions.” (Dr Martin Lloyd Jones Christian Unity Ephesians 4:1to 16 Introductory Remark)
They emphasize unity at the expense of truth. This is why carefully need to look at this passage both for our own need of the truth and for our need of its application to this church and ourselves individually.

1. The unity is a priority (1-3)

Paul beseeches these Ephesians believers to walk in a manner to depict the calling that they received in salvation. The fact that the Apostle to the Gentiles pleads, beseeches, entreaties with these Christians to consider their calling in salvation in Christ which is the bond that tie the Christians, show that it is of prime importance and cannot be ignored. We were all called into salvation in Christ. This calling was characterized by much lowliness, gentleness, long-suffering and bearing with one another in love (both of Christ and one another.
We also need to consider once again that when there were myriads of problems in the church of Corinth including a man sleeping with his own mother, abuse of the highest order of the Lord’s Supper, misuse of the spiritual gifts, inter alia; he started to deal with the division in the church – because it is of uttermost importance. In fact, the worst of the sins that a person can commit is schism. This is because it is not just an abuse of oneself but trying to divide the Body of Christ, thought it cannot be divided.
The manner of calling shows its priority;

• With lowliness and gentleness.
It required all humility to be drawn into this salvation, no one was otherwise called. We were all called in the same manner. No one was called who did not realize his sinfulness. Salvation has only reached those who have reckoned the foulness and vileness of their sins. Salvation has only reached those people who have realized that they are helpless sinners who deserve God’s wrath and condemnation. Yet they appreciate that their faith in Christ has been effected in their lives because Christ has saved them freely. He realizes that he has no rights to claim before God. All the rights that a Christian possesses are secured by grace alone. This means a means a Christian would rather take wrong than inflict it (1Cor.6:7). Just like Abraham, who preferred to let Lot have first choice (Gen13:7-18)

• With longsuffering
This is a time, we should remember, when believers suffered misunderstanding, harshness, and cruelty from those who did not share their faith. Imagine women who were married by unbelievers then? How about now? A lot of patience, endurance was required. This is because as long as the husband is willing to live with you then you have no Biblical right of a divorce.
The energy was expended in order to bring us this salvation shows both its priority and its urgency. We cannot ignore such an important calling. Surely, we need to know that Christ suffered much to bring us to salvation so that we may be like Him. Others have as well so much labored for us to be saved. This shows is of uttermost priority that we be one just like the Godhead – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit works together as one to bring salvation to men.

• With forbearance and love
The fact that we should exercise forbearance and patience shows that this is a duty of prime importance and we cannot afford to ignore it. It is a priority that a body should have mouth to feed it as well as do the talking. Would you imagine any other organ, say an eye saying to the rest of the members that we don’t need the mouth? What if the whole body was an eye? Would it not be disastrous?
If you look closely this is a description of a Christian life (cf.Col.3:12-15). Every Christian should have life that reveals these characteristics.

2. Unity Is Not Automatic

Unity is not an external and mechanical but internal and organic. It is not superimposed or forced on people but by the virtue of the power of the indwelling Christ, it proceeds from within the organism of the church. Therefore, we conclude that the church is spiritual one and so let it remain to be Spiritual!
We must strive in order to achieve this unity by being faithful in doing that which God gave us to do. We should always strive to conduct ourselves in harmony with the responsibilities which our new relationship to God has imposed upon us with the blessings which this effectual calling has brought us.
The struggle here is for the purpose of promoting the welfare of the church. The health of the church is as much vital just as our own. When we are aching as members the church aches. This means that the spiritual oneness indicated in verse three is an indispensable prerequisite for promoting the health and happiness of the church. This comes, not by itself, by a deliberate effort and prayer. We are to endeavor, to make effort, give diligence and do our utmost (2Tim.2:15) not once, but constantly. The motivating factors in all this lofty effort are;

• Advancing the cause of missions
• Winning the victory over Satan and his allies
• True affection for one another
• Love of peace

Peace is not only the motivating factor, but also the fuel of unity. For this reason we are told by different passages the same;
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of order but of peace, as in all the churches of saints. (2Cor.14:33). “Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of peace and love will be you” (2Cor.13:11). “And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”(Phil.4:7)

Monday, November 15, 2010

PLEASE LEAVE GOD TO REVENGE FOR YOU!

Vengeance is mine Matt.5:38-42
What was the origin and intent of this law?
This is a regulation in order to bring justice and it is instituted and drawn from Exodus 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21. For us to understand this law we need to find out why Moses instituted this civil law. This is appointed to be done by the magistrate, who “bears not the sword in vain, but is the minister of God, an avenger to execute wrath,” (Rom. 13:4). It was a direction to the judges of the Jewish nation what punishment to inflict in case of mutilation and other injuries for those who would do such mischief on the one hand, and for a restraint to such as have mischief done to them on the other hand. The regulation is that they may not insist on a greater punishment than is proper. For example it is not a life for an eye, nor a limb for a tooth! This principle was also applied in the matter of oaths, divorce and adultery.
The main intent of this Mosaic Law was to control and regulate excesses. In this particular case it would control anger and violence and the desire for revenge. The natural reaction when one is injured is to attempt to avenge oneself. This is something that we all are guilty of. The children are the most illustrative of how this desire for revenge in engraved in our fallen human nature. Sadly, it shows how much we fell into the mire of sin. This Law of Moses was therefore meant to control and reduce this chaotic condition and bring order. I like what Dr. Lloyd-Jones has to say about it:
“God the Author of salvation, the Author of the way whereby mankind can be delivered from the bondage and tyranny of sin, has also ordained that there shall be a check upon sin. The God of grace is also the God of law, and this is one the illustrations of the law. God will ultimately destroy evil and sin and all its works entirely. He is also in the meantime, controlling it and has set a bound upon it. we find this working out in the book of job, where even the devil cannot do certain things until he is given permission. He is ultimately under the control of God, and one of the manifestations of that control is that God has gives laws. He gave this particular law which insists that a certain principle of equality and equity must enter into these matters. So if a man knocks out another man’s eye, he must not be killed for that – ‘an eye for an eye’. Or if he knocks out the tooth of another, the victim is only entitled to knock one of his teeth. The punishment must fit the crime and not be in excess of it.” D Martin Lloyd-Jones, Studies In The Sermon On The Mount, Vol. 1, IVP, 1959-60, p. 272
But who were to enforce this law, was it an individual or the judges?
This was a law given to the judges who would be responsible for law and order among the people. There were judges among the Israelites who had the mandate to execute this command. Of course if it were to be left to the private individuals, especially the injured persons, it would be more chaotic than before, because then people would take law into their own hands. But God is not the author of confusion but of order and so He instructs that, “all things should be done decently and in order.”(1Cor. 14:4)
Jesus is now seeking to deal with the Pharisees who were ignoring completely the fact that this law was for the judges and not for the private individuals. They considered it as a matter of right of each individual to have his offender’s eye gouged out or his tooth removed in a very legalistic manner, even overlooking the greater needs for forgiveness, submission and love towards those who oppose us because we are depending and trusting upon God to be with us and on our side.
How does it apply to us now?
1. We are not to revenge
As Christians we are not to resist evil, and this applies to our personal relationships with others (as opposed to non-Christians and nations). Obviously this would be ridiculous where it to be applied to inter-state relationships, or the citizen’s relationship with the civil order. Christians forgive readily because of the forgiveness they have received from the Lord. Having been forgiven, we should be very careful not to fall into the same category with the unforgiving servant (Matt. 18:21-35). We must not seek to avenge (Prov.20:22; 24:29; 25:21, 25:22; Rom.12:7). Our unwillingness to forgive will be crowned by God refusing to forgive us as well. The law of retaliation must be made consistent with the law of love. Therefore, bear blows and scorn patiently leaving to God to avenge for you and to the magistrate.
A Christian’s attitude toward himself is considered by the Lord here and He is telling us that if we are truly Christians then we must be dead to ourselves in regard to sin. This brings to the fore the whole lesson of meekness. Not fighting to have our own rights – like Moses (Num. 12:3). This would only happen where a person has a right attitude toward oneself. The question of self-defense when a wrong is done is evaluated here. It involves dealing with one’s attitude to the natural instinct of revenge, retaliation and leaving it to God for God to do.
It also involves the Christians having the right attitude towards one’s possessions. If a man decide to deprive you of your property (Cloak), let him and wait for the Lord not only to recompense you but also to give you some more. How selfish we are with our possessions? When it comes to the things we own we only think of how we can own more and more with due considerations to the others. One would always ask why should part with my hard-earned possession and hurt myself? Why should I be impoverished by others unjustly? But our Master is saying that we should be careful with how we deal with ourselves when we are attacked, or when something is taken away from us, so that when we are borrowed, we are not only willing to give but to give more than enough to those who are asking.
2. We are to be both helpful and generous to others
We must not hurt to our neighbors, but labor to good to others with all our efforts.
• We must be ready to give; “Give to the one who begs from you” If you are able, look upon the request of the poor as giving thee an opportunity for the duty of almsgiving.” However, we must be careful not to give that to the idle and unworthy and so promote laziness. What God says to us, we should be ready to say to our poor brethren, Ask, and it shall be given you.
• We must be ready to lend. This is sometimes as great a piece of charity as giving; as it not only relieves the present emergency, but obliges the borrower to providence, industry, and honesty. So we should not turn away those who come to us in need, either by excuse or by straight denial (or even worse by a lie!). Be easy of access to him that would borrow even though he might be shy, and does not have confidence to make known his case it becomes our duty to be forward in acts of kindness, because even for us; before we call, God hears us, and provides us with the blessings of his goodness.
Everyone who follows Christ must learn to deny himself and to be like Him in order to be able to follow Him.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

PLEASE CONSIDER CHRIST YOUR GREAT EXAMPLE IN THE FOLLOWING AREAS

CHRIST IS OUR GREAT EXAMPLE
Come here so that I can beat you! Are you coming or not? The father says angrily to his notorious teenage boy. How many boys would you suppose would go? Most likely the next thing would be to run away. Yet we are told that as Christians, we have been called to sufferings. On most cases, we have run away from our divine calling. Because as long as we are on the earth, we should know that part of our calling is to suffer.
We acknowledge that Christ suffered and died in our behalf, but we do not understand in what way He is our example. He is our example in the manner that he endured suffering. Paul presents one of the motives for the Christian duty of patient endurance of undeserved suffering as the suffering of our Lord himself. He bluntly tells that of such we have been called. I would like to point out to you that we have not been called to this suffering without a precedent and this is none other than very our Master and Lord. Are we going to be greater than our Master? Christ is our great example of humility (Phil.2:1-11); He is the example of not living to please ourselves but to please our neighbor for his good, to build him up (Rom.15:2,3). He is the example of how we should accept one another (Rom.15:7). He is the example of generosity in costly self-giving (2Cor.8:9). He is the example of the life of love we are to live (Eph.5:2). And here he is the example of how we should behave when we suffer for doing good.
How did our Lord go through this suffering? The manner is our lesson today. If this is our calling then it is of uttermost importance for us to learn from it because then we will be learning from out Master and Lord. What we learn is the four basic principles of going through suffering. This is because whether we like it or not suffering will be there.
1. CHRIST IS OUR GREAT EXAMPLE IN PATIENCE
Christ suffered patiently and without murmuring or complaining. He was patient enduring the cross, being shamed and mocked and reviled, yet patient. He was apt in following like a sheep to the slaughter, He did not fight His tormentors. He suffered willingly and did not even attempt to fight for himself. Never was the Lord impatient with His tormentors. Never did He attempt to retaliate either verbally or by His hands. He completely submitted and gave himself to obey his Father whom had sent Him. He was patient in affliction
Are being conformed to the likeness of His Son? Then we must suffer just like He suffered, for to this you have been called – to be like Him in every respect. To this are ye called as Christians, even to the patient endurance of sufferings wrongfully inflicted, from a regard to the will of God as Mr. John Brown put it. Are we to fellowship in His sufferings? Then He left us an example to follow in His footsteps.
We go through this life meeting with challenges in all quarters of life. We are met with life’s suffering as we eat and as we drink; as we sleep and as we wake up; as we walk and and as we talk; as we go out and as we come in; whether we are working or resting, we must be met with suffering. It is because this life is of suffering, willingly and unwillingly. We suffer in lack and in abundance. The plenty comes with its troubles just like the trouble comes with its troubles. But the question is how prepared are we in all these circumstances? How can we be more patient and more enduring?
This is what we need to say:

If our afflictions are so sanctified as that they draw out our soul…
- To love the Lord more, and
- To fear Lord more, and
- To please Lord more, and
- To cleave Lord more, and
- To wait Lord more, and
- To walk Lord more
If the afflictions that are upon us do;
- Increase our courage,
- Strengthen our patience
- Raise our faith
- Inflame our love, and
- Enliven our hopes
certainly they are sent in love, and all our wounds are the wounds of our friend.

Then they are sent in love. Oh, then they are wounds of a friend indeed! (Thomas Brooks, the Mute Christian Under the hand Smarting Rod)
Let us always bear in mind that, ‘No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it’. (1Cor 10:13)

2. CHRIST IS OUR GREAT EXAMPLE IN SINLESSNESS
The most outstanding thing about Jesus is that in spite of the intensity of the sufferings that He went through, he did not sin; He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. Our Lord committed no sin. Our great exemplar committed no guile, no iniquity, no deceit. Jesus committed no sin from His birth and even up to the point of His death. He was neither conceived in iniquity nor was He born in iniquity like David. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, breaking the lineage of man and thus was completely free from sin. Jesus is our example. And what this means for us is that we can submit and endure the sufferings and this is because we not only have an example from Jesus, but also we better placed in certain sense than Him.
The reason why the suffering of Jesus was worse than ours was that He is God and even to behold evil itself is unbearable as Habakkuk puts it, ‘You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong (Hab. 1:13), sin was and is a torment for Him. When He had to endure in such intensity of sin, we must appreciate that it was harder than for a man. A man is so used to sin like the fish and water but not God.
Thank God that our Master triumphed over the evil that had tormented man for so long. Thank God that we follow a victorious Master. The far that we were not able to go, Jesus went for us and on our behalf. His example has far-reaching implications it means that this example is effected in our lives by the Holy Spirit. Again, endurance is for our grace, for Peter himself asks; ‘For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God’. (1Pet 2:20)
We have no excuse for sinning even when great temptation, for we have not been tempted to the point of shedding blood, and even we had died, we have excuse for committing sin. A Christian has been called to suffer. To flinch from one’s calling is unreasonable because this calling was publically made and nothing has God kept hidden from us. Besides, it is for our own good that we suffer. Our submission and obedience does not depend on the prevailing circumstances. It does not depend on whether it is cool or not. We are to live in obedience at all times without compromise. We have been called to a life of godliness in a world that abhor us. We live in a foreign land as Peter keeps on telling us, that we are sojourners or pilgrims and as long as this is so, we must learn to accept our position is that of suffering, reviled, and even killed.
3. CHRIST IS OUR GREAT EXAMPLE IN DEPENDENCE ON GOD
When a person is holding you captive without a good cause what is the next automatic thing to do, but to threaten? Imagine, walking in the streets of Nairobi and you meet with the city council askaris and they grab you by your collarbone. Then they announce to you that you are under arrest because of throwing down a piece of paper. Before you even conceive in your mind what they are telling you they frog match you to their courts. Then because you do not know of such paper they are talking about, you attempt to resist being arrested and then they start beating you senseless with their heavy rungus? But, then it also dawns on you that your dad is a councilor! What is the next thing that you would do? You start cursing and threatening them in all manner of threats and you dare them to beat you farther and take you to their courts. This is completely the opposite of what the Lord did, for “when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly’’
Christ is our great example on what we are to do in such circumstances. He was humiliated in every way, he was beaten up and flogged. He was scorned and mocked. All that could be done to person was done to Him in a great measure. He was even killed the most humiliating death that can ever be done to a man. Yet the Bible clearly records that He fully depended on God. He committed Himself to following the counsel of His Father from when He said, “Not my will but yours be done” while in the garden of Gethsemane. He continued to entrust Himself to the One who is able when He was arrested and accused falsely. He entrusted Himself to God when they were flogging and whipping Him and when they hanged Him in that shameful cross. Moreover, when He died, He committed His Soul to the Father.
Are we able to do this? Can we learn to follow God fully under all situations, come rain or sunshine? We should teach ourselves this noble thing to do – to fully trust Him and have a total confidence that what He said He would do, is exactly what we should expect. He is a not a son of man to lie. Again let us remember that most of the things that we go through are as result of our sins either directly or indirectly because in this world, sin has tinted everything in such a way that we are affected by its effects in all our daily endeavors. Therefore, God often intervenes to restore us back on the track, when He does that you should appreciate His discipline, for we read, It is for discipline that you have to endure, God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? (Heb 12:7)
4. CHRIST IS OUR GREAT EXAMPLE IN SERVICE
One other example that we see here of our Lord in whose footsteps we are to follow, is His example in service. All that He was doing through all these circumstances is that He was busy in our service. He knew that without Him, we are doomed. We are to look unto Him because He is described as the one “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).
In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood (Heb 12:4) .
Brethren we have not come to suffering like Christ yet you can see how much He went through for our sake. He went through all these to redeem us from sin. It should be out of gratitude that we serve. It should be out love that is depicted by the Lord in His suffering and death for such worms as we. In our service, we are told what is expected of us; we are to “ labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure” (1Co 4:12 ). I have also been given very specific instructions as a preacher and pastor on service, “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2Ti 4:5 ).
The last motive that we have for looking upon the Lord in submission even when suffering is that if we endure with Him then shall we also reign with Him, but also that if we deny Him under suffering like Peter, then He shall deny us (2Ti 2:12). Who would like to be denied by the Lord before the father and the angels and told, “I do not know you. Go away!”
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Heb 12:3). We should not grow weary in our labor especially of submitting in whatever circumstances because this is what is gracious in God’s sight. This is what God commends. Would you like a commendation from the president? I am sure you would like to. But greater is the commendation from God and this is what we ought to pursue.