Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Here is love - vast as the Ocean


Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Lovingkindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout Heaven’s eternal days.
On the mount of crucifixion,
Fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
Poured incessant from above,
And Heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.
Let me all Thy love accepting,
Love Thee, ever all my days;
Let me seek Thy kingdom only
And my life be to Thy praise;
Thou alone shalt be my glory,
Nothing in the world I see.
Thou hast cleansed and sanctified me,
Thou Thyself hast set me free.
In Thy truth Thou dost direct me
By Thy Spirit through Thy Word;
And Thy grace my need is meeting,
As I trust in Thee, my Lord.
Of Thy fullness Thou art pouring
Thy great love and power on me,
Without measure, full and boundless,
Drawing out my heart to Thee.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

IT IS NOT DEATH TO DIE FOR CHRISTIANS

IT IS NOT DEATH TO DIE!

It is not Death to die, to leave this weary road,
and join the saints who dwell on high,
who’ve found their home with God.

It is not death to close the eyes long dimmed by tears,
and wake in joy before your throne,
delivered from our fears.
O Jesus, conquering the grave,
your precious blood has power to save.
Those who trust in you will in your mercy find
that it is not death to die.
It is not death to fling aside this earthly dust,
and rise with strong and noble wing
to live among the just.

It is not death to hear the key unlock the door
that sets us free from mortal years
to praise forever more.
O Jesus, conquering the grave,
your precious blood has power to save.
Those who trust in you will in your mercy find
that it is not death to die.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Remember Jesus Christ!


2 Timothy 2:8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel,


When you are in deep trouble, you can almost remember telling your dear friend, ‘please remember me’ can’t you? But Paul, in a dark dungeon, just about to be executed says, “Remember Jesus Christ” He did not say, remember Paul!
The imperative to remember Christ seems ridiculous when it is directed to a believer and a minister like Timothy. How could Timothy ever forget Him? However we are to bear in mind that unbelievers and believers alike have this tendency to forget the Creator – see Ecc. 12:1. Moreover, the epitaph of the nation of Israel was written repeatedly that, “They soon forgot God” see Deut. 32:18; Judges 3:7; 1Sam. 12:9; Psalm 106:4. The West is very quickly forgetting the Lord Jesus Christ, hence this reminder message. The human mind is so forgetful and so it was to overcome this weakness that Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper.
Today we have a very simple duty brought to us – ‘to remember Jesus Christ’. Now folks, let us interrogate this statement: Why are we to remember Jesus Christ?
1)    Because He is risen from the dead
“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the death…” The message of the gospel is that God loved the world and gave His Son. Yes God the Son, who is equal with God the Father (and the Spirit), in power and glory, became man. This is the thrust of this verse because everywhere else in this letter Paul calls Him Christ Jesus, except here. (See, 1:1a&b, 2, 9, 10, 13; 2:1, 3,10; 3:12, 15; 4:1, otherwise he just called him Lord!) This is to emphasize His humanity. God became man.
He had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (Heb. 2:17). For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2Co 5:21). The most remarkable thing that has ever happened in the history of mankind is that God, the Creator took the human body, and limited Himself for a while in time and space. The incarnation of Christ is the most dumbfounding thing – this blows away my mind.
But even more interesting thing is the cross of Christ. This is at the center of Christendom. Christ came to be the Substitute for the sinful man. He came to bear our griefs and our sorrows,  to be smitten and afflicted by God on our behalf; to be wounded for our transgressions, to be crushed for our iniquities, so that upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace and with His stripes we are healed. Brethren, the Lord has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all, because it was the will of Jehovah to crush Him so that through Him girls and boys, men and women in Campus Church, in London, in Britain, and Sound Arabia, and North Korea, and Kenya and Brazil and the whole world, throughout the age may be accounted His righteousness – because He bore the sins of many. Is it not a wonder that God became a man? Is it not remarkable that God condescended, humbled Himself to become a man in order to save man who is a sinner? God humbled Himself to the level of His creation – even unto a shameful death on the accursed tree?
But the news we celebrate today is that He is risen and reigning. The pangs of death could not contain Him. And so on the first day of the Week – the day of the Lord, or the Lord’s Day, the Lord rose. In so doing He destroyed death. He took its sting and its power. He became the firstfruit from among the dead. This is the news that no other religion have – only Christians can speak of life after death because they have trusted in the One who is resurrected and promises the life and resurrection to those who put their trust in Him. Would you trust Him today? Have you trusted in Him – then He has killed death for you so that it is not death to die. To die is to sleep for Christian, it is a time when they close the teary eyes to be woken in glory, where there shall be no tear, no sin, no pain. Surely the chosen of the Lord cannot die, like Him they conquer death in strife to reign with Him on high. Are you there with Him?
2)    Because He is the Promised Messiah
“Remember Jesus Christ… of the seed of David…” You remember Christ because He is the realization and fulfilment of the promise of God. Paul is telling Timothy to persevere in faith because God is faithful. He Israelites the Messiah and delivered. Jesus is the promised Messiah! He is the Hope of Israel in the OT and now realized in time… He ought to remember Him.
For this the reason His descent is given – He is the seed of David. God promised David, When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.(2Sa 7:12) Jesus Christ, the offspring of David who God sent in the fullness of time, was born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons. All those who care to listen must know that this is the good news upon which the whole world depends.
This is what has been preached throughout history and those who have believed this have eternal life. This same gospel has not lost its power, even here in Britain. It might appear as if we do not preach the same gospel as the one preached by George Whitefield, but I can assure you that it is the same power of God for salvation for all who believe, to the Jew first and then to the Gentile, for from it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, for it is written that the righteous will live by faith.
In times of storm we know it’s power, the power of the gospel is so conspicuous in the face of persecution – this is the hope that made Paul not to live in self-pity even in the face of death. It is the faithfulness of God that makes us to know that God will do what He promised because His promises are yes and amen.
3)    Because this is the good news that you ought to own and spread
This imperative is, “Remember Jesus Christ…according to my gospel.” What is the point Paul is making here? Is he claiming to have invented the gospel? Paul is saying that it is His gospel in a manner that it ought to be yours. But He is also saying that as an apostle, he had received it by immediate revelation, he continues to preach it by mouth and pen, as an herald, apostle and teacher and that he clings to it with his whole heart, even now in the face of death and he recommends Timothy and everyone else who would like eternal good to do the same.
This is the gospel that Jesus entrusted to His apostles. So Paul proclaims it as ‘my gospel’. This means, not a gospel that he invented owns, but the gospel entrusted to Him by the Saviour to dispense authoritatively. Paul would have us know, that the gospel that he preached is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Gal 1:11-12)

How can we forget Jesus Christ?

May I point out to you how you forget Christ:
1)    When you are scared of men rather than God
2)    When you are afraid of circumstances like sickness and death
3)    When you are anxious instead of prayer
4)    When you get careless in spiritual things and live as Christ did not die for sins,
5)    when you treat sin casually and live as if sin is not what led Christ to die,
6)    When your mind is not fully occupied with Christ and so you do not love you with your whole heart, soul and mind
7)    When you do not pray and you do not listen to the Lord in His Word,
8)    When you allow doubts to overwhelm you and so live in spiritual despair,
9)    When you are not interested in the church or calling others to Christ, yes, when you are ashamed of the gospel and of Christ with your children, and your relatives, and your neighbours, and your colleagues in school and at work,
10)                       When you do not live in light of eternity and waste away God-given resources and waste time away as if there are no sinners to be won, then you forget Christ!

How are we to remember Jesus Christ?

First of all, it is in the manner He has revealed Himself to us by His written Word. The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is committed to paper and ink so that we may never forget the Lord and Saviour of our souls. Therefore, we are to learn what He has said in the Word, so listen, read, study, memorize, meditate and apply and teach it.
Paul in the previous verse tells Timothy, to think over what he told him, for the Lord would give him understanding in everything. Then he told him to study to show himself approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed but handles correctly the Word of truth (2:15). Later he reminds him that it is the Scriptures which are able to make him wise for salvation.
Throughout this letter there is a pattern to spur in Timothy a sincere faith (1:5) and to fan into flame the gift of God (1:6). He encourages Him to never be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord (1:8). He prays for him that he would be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus so as to pass the baton of proclaiming the gospel to others (2:1, 2). He encourages Him to share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus (2:3) and now the exhortation is to remember Christ. He then encourages to him to endure all things for the sake of the elect so that they also may obtain salvation (2:10). No suffering can make us to forget Christ when we have our eyes on Christ through the lens of the Scriptures.
According to Thy precious word in deep humility, this I will do my dying Lord I will remember Thee! May we then learn and study the Word of God when we wake up and when we sleep we meditate on it. May our delight be in the law of the Lord and then we will be the blessed of God. Read your Bible and make sure that you read it daily study each precept and each line from Genesis to Revelation so that you may never forget Christ. Encouraging them to flee sin and passions of the flesh so as to pursue righteousness (2:22). It is only by the word that we are made competent and equipped for every good work (2:17). When we to learn the Word of God so that we may be able to teach and remind others and also be able to preach it in and out of season (4:2). If we want others to never forget Christ then we are to make all the effort to reprove, rebuke and exhort with complete patience and teaching (4:3).
The second way in which we are to remember Jesus Christ is by the communion of the saints. Thy body, broken for my sake, my bread from heaven shall be, Thy testamental cup I take and thus remember Thee. The meeting of believers such worship service and the Lord’s Supper are great reminders of the Saviour of sinners. Therefore, we would be wise in always being there with other redeemed of the Lord, in close fellowship, in love and unity. We are therefore admonished to not neglect the meeting together of brethren in Hebrews 10:25. Any opportunity with Christian is a reminder of the Saviour who saved them, because we remind of each other of our great redemption.
Here is a call not only to have a relationship with Christ, but also to enjoy this relationship always with Christ. When things are hard in life, recall the Lord Jesus Christ. He is near us. If you are rejected by men, it could be your own children or relatives, remember Jesus Christ and His community. When you are discouraged for one reason or the other – remember Jesus Christ. When you are tempted, remember Jesus Christ who was tempted in every way, yet without sin. When the devil assails your with doubts and despair – lift up your eyes to the one and only One –Jesus Christ and tell Him. He is listening to you – call out to Him, remember Him!
Now as you go through trials and temptations in this dark world of sin; as you make all the effort to strangle sin in your life… as you work out your salvation with fear and trembling; as you are gladly spend and spent for the salvation of souls, as you eat and drink, as you mourn or celebrate, as you ascend or descend … REMEMBER JESUS CHRIST… AND NO ONE ELSE … AND NO MORE … HE IS ALL SUFFICIENT!




LISTEN TO THIS MESSAGE HERE!












Thursday, April 3, 2014

Features of True Repentance


SO THEY WENT OUT AND PROCLAIMED THAT PEOPLE SHOULD REPENT (MK 6:12)
Paul's first message was, "That they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance (Acts 26: 20). It is a great duty upon all sinners to repent and turn to God: " Repent therefore, and be converted that your sins be blotted out. (Acts 3:19). "Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mathew 3:2)..... there is no being saved without repentance.
 In Adam, we all drowned into the dead sea of sin and repentance is the only straw left for us to hang on to swim to the shore..... The first sermon that Christ preached and indeed, the first word of his sermon  was "repent"  (Mathew 4:17)...... the farewell message that Christ conveyed before He ascended was that repentance should be preached in his name. (Luke 24:47)...... The apostles took the cue from him, their master: "They went out and preached that men should repent" (Mark 6: 12).
Repentance signifies the gospel of grace...... the covenant of works had no place for repentance. There it was, sin and die....... Christ has purchased in His blood those who repent should be forgiven........ the law pronounced a curse upon all those who did not come to this obedience. "Cursed is everyone that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them" (Galatians 3:10).

FEATURES OF COUNTERFEIT REPENTANCE
Mental trouble: A man who has lived in his sins for long may come to a point where he faces the legal consequences of his lifestyle...... He may feel terrified and have his conscience disturbed.....at this point he may feel bitter about his many sins, yet this is not repentance. Ahab and Judas had similar feelings,..... it is one thing to be terrified sinners and another thing to be a repentant sinner...... repentance depends upon the change of heart,..... there may be anguish, pain and trouble, yet if there is no change of heart, there is no repentance.
Resolution to reform: A person may make resolutions, vows when he is on a sick bed,...... yet if God recovers him he would be as bad as ever...... man's extremity may push him to make resolutions against sins not because sin is sinful but because sin is painful..... Once the pain is removed, the resolution vanishes...... A man may also for fear of death or punishment  of hell resolve to leave sin..... such reactions is as a result of self-love..... for sin will prevail against it,...... it is raised in a storm and it will die when calm is restored.
Leaving many sins: Sin is so dear to the sinners that a man will easily part with his own child than with lust or drunkenness....... A sin may be left not because of the power of grace but because of prudence. A man may see that though this sin may be for his present pleasure, it may not be for his long term interest...... It may deny him profit in trade, impair his health or render him useless inn society therefore he desires to cut off that sin.

FEATURES OF TRUE REPENTANCE
Repentance is a grace of God's spirit where a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly reformed.
1. Sight of sin
2. Sorrow for sin
3. Confession of sin
4. Shame for sin
5. Hatred for sin
6. Turning from sin
1. Sight of sin
The first thing noted in the prodigal son's repentance was, "He came to himself" (Luke 15:17). This means he saw himself a sinner and nothing but a sinner. Sin must first be seen before it can be wept for........ a man has great insight concerning worldly subjects but the eye of their heart is blind....... they do not see any evil in sin..... such people are in fact ignorant of themselves...... they do not know the condition of their hearts and the deformed souls they carry...... they are deceived all the time that they have good hearts unless or until they come to themselves.
2. Sorrow for sin
Sorrowing implies embittering of the soul or the soul being crucified. (Psalms 38:18), (Zechariah 12:10). This sorrow for sin is not superficial, it is a holy agony. It is called in Scripture, "A breaking of the heart," (Psalms 51:17).......a rending of the heart (Joe 2:13),....... Smiting on the thigh (Jeremiah 31:19)...... beating on the breast....... plucking off the hair (Ezra 9:3). Christ would be precious and desirable if you have a troubled soul. A surgeon is so much welcome to a patient who  is bleeding from his wounds.
The tears that draws from a repentant heart shall certainly cure the of leprosy for sin.....Godly sorrow is sorrow of the heart. The sorrow of hypocrites lie in their faces: "They disfigure their faces" (Mathew 6:16) Godly sorrow goes as the heart bleeds for sin: They were pricked in their heart (acts 2:37)...... as the heart  plays the significant role in sinning so it must in sorrowing for sins.
Godly sorrow is for heart sins....... the true repentant weeps for the stirring of pride, lust, anger etc. He grieves from the root of bitterness.... even if it doesn't  blossom into action...... A wicked man may be troubled for scandalous sins: A Christian laments about heart sins.
Godly sorrow is ingenious...... It is sorrowful for the offence rather to the punishment. The fact that God's law has been broken and his love abused, melts a penitent soul into tears...... A thief may be sorry when he is captured, not because he broke God's law but because he is going to be punished........ Hypocrites only grieve for the bitter consequences of their sins. Their eyes never pour out tears unless when God's judgment is approaching........ Pharaoh was more troubled for the frogs and river of blood than for his sins.......................................................................................................................................
Godly sorrow whoever is specifically for trespassing against God, so that even if there was no police to arrest, no court to sentence, no prison to jail or no hell to punish, " My sin is ever before me" (Psalms 51:3)....... Although he is out of reach of the pangs of hell, and shall never be damned, yet he still mourns for sinning against that free grace that pardoned him.
Godly sorrow is trustful.... if there are not some signs of faith in the soul, this is not the sorrow of humiliation but of despair.....Godly sorrow is punctuated by restitution....... Those who have wronged others through unjust dealings ought to recompense them: "If I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation I restore him fourfold" (Luke 19:8).
Godly sorrow is habitual....... is not a few tears shed in excitement..... the disease is chronic and frequently returns upon man.
3. Confession of sin
Sorrow for sin vents itself at the eyes by weeping and at the tongue by confession. (Nehemiah 9:2) (Hosea 5:15). Confession is self-accusing,....... we accuse one another before God in our daily lives..... repenting men accuse themselves....... The humble sinner sits in judgment, as it were, accusing himself and passing a sentence against himself........ He confesses that he deserves to be bound  and thrown into hell.
Confession must be flowing freely. .......The prodigal son charged himself with sin before his father charged, "I have sinned against heaven and before the earth" Luke 15:18.
Confession must be with compunction/impact; True confession leaves heart wounding impressions on a man........ It is one thing to confess sin and another thing to feel sin.
4. Shame for sin
Blushing is the colour of virtue.... when the heart has been darkened by sin, grace brightens the face with blushing: "That they may be ashamed of their iniquities (Ezekiel 43:10)" I am ashamed and blushed to lift up my face" (Ezra 9:6)...... The repenting prodigal son was so ashamed of his foolishness of sin that he found himself not to be worthy to be called a son anymore (Luke 15:21)...... repentance causes a hole causes much shame to the sinners....... Sin is a sign of unthankfulness to which even God himself stands amazed; "Hear O heavens and give ear O earth; I have nourished and brought up children and they have repealed against me" (Isaiah 1:2)
Sin has stripped us of our white linen of holiness and made us naked and deformed in God's sight.... causes us great shame. Sin turns men into beasts (Psalms 49:12)...... Sinners are compared to foxes (2nd Peter 2:22)....wolves (Mat 7:15).....asses (Job 11:12).....pigs (11 Pet 2:22)...... he who was once more or less than the angels has now become like the beats...... the natural man acts beastly: "they do not act wisely but are carried away by the violence of their lust and passion.
5. Hatred of sin
There should be nauseating and loathing and detestation of sin in everyone who claims to follow Christ ........... Even though the devil may cook sin with delicacies and dress it up with pleasure and profit, a true repentant will abhor and be disgusted by it...... the dislike of sin is not only in the judgment but also in the will and affections....... he who hates sin hates all sin, gainful sins, complex sin, scandalous sins, secret sins etc......A holy heart detests sin for its intrinsic pollution...... sin leaves a stain upon the soul.
6. Turning from sin
"Repent and turn yourselves from your idols: and turn away your faces from all your abominations" (Ezekiel 14:6) Dying to sin is the life to repentance....... the everyday a sinner turns from sin, he must begin a life of continual turning,...... the eye must break away from impure glances,..... the ear must break away from gossip,...... the tongue must break away from lies,..... the hand from bribes,..... the feet from the paths of prostitutes and the soul from the love of wickedness..... This turning from sin implies a remarkable change....... it demonstrates that Christ has changed sinners from darkness to light. (Ephesians 5:8).
Turning from all the heart and from all sin, the turning from sin must be from a spiritual ground,..... it must be a turning unto God (Acts 26:20)..... and it must be a turning that has no return...... If we turn to God, he will turn to us...... He will turn his anger from us and his face to us....... It was David's prayer, "O turn unto me and have mercy upon me" (Psalms 86:16)..... Our turning will make God turn; "Turn ye unto me says the Lord, and I will turn unto your" (Zachariah 1:3)..... If God turns to us, all things shall turn to good mercies and affection we shall test the end of the road


This is a sermon preached on 26th January 2014, by Sakwa Buliba, A Deacon at Trinity Baptist Church, Nairobi and the Secretary of International Governance Institute

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Learn from Scriptures, Turning them into a Prayer

LEARN FROM SCRIPTURES, TURNING THEM INTO A PRAYER
(Romans 15:4-6)
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Having quoted from OT, now makes general statement about OT “for our instruction.” We Gentiles might dismiss it as Jewish book, written long before Christ, so no relevance.
What is it designed to do?
To give “endurance … encouragement” and so produce “hope.” There is a need to keep going with joy, sure hope of glory, especially as we fellowship with others. It is hard when we endeavour to constantly please others, but not getting thanks expected, to become weary
How do Scriptures do this? Two essential things: study and prayer
(1)          Study the Scriptures (v. 4).  We must not be ignorant of teaching, promises, lives of saints Job endured (Jas. 5:11), faith of cloud of witnesses (Heb. 12:1), personal struggles of Psalmists, encouraging promises of prophets for both present and future.
You must never think you have special, peculiar temptations (1 Cor. 10:13)
First reason why you find Christian life hard, joyless, even doubting future. It is because of little study of Scriptures.
(2)    Pray in what you read (vv. 5-6). 
The second reason why Christian life is hard, joyless, even doubting future – little prayer, in accordance to God’s will. Paul combines exhortation to men and prayer to God
Scriptures necessary. However, it can be a dead letter unless God works through them by His Spirit. It is God Himself who is the Source of “endurance … encouragement” so Paul and we must pray to Him, sure that He will do what is right and pleasing.

We need to be in “such harmony” = have same mind (12:16, 2 Cor. 13:11, Phil. 2:2).  Obviously this is not necessarily agreeing on everything, but having the same purpose of wanting to please others. This is exactly what Christ wants, and the example He set was that of service to others not giving significance to Himself.
Higher purpose of unity so that together with heart expressed in voice, might glorify God. Can selfish, unChristlike, divided Christians really bring glory to God? NO! only unity is God-glorifying!

The reason why sometimes we struggle in prayers is because we are praying for the same things year in year out – healing, journey mercies, close/opening of schools… while there is nothing wrong in and of these things, we do not see the first Christian saints praying for these things. They prayed for such things like grace, peace, joy, harmony, endurance, etc. that God is glorified. May we learn to pray Biblically, not just according to our desires!