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.