Thursday, December 11, 2014

Faith





Faith was:

  • The teacher who taught Abel to offer acceptable and pleasing sacrifice to God
  • The anchor upon which Noah held on to construct the Ark for 120years with a dose of taunting by his contemporaries
  • The means of Abraham's and our justification
  • The magnet that drew Moses away from the fleeting pleasures of Egypt, so that he joined with the afflicted people of God
  • The force that smashed the walls of Jericho, saving Rahab and her kin
  • The secret that enabled Ruth to make her moving confession of faith
  • The weapon that killed Goliath and destroyed Sennacherib's army
  • The veto factor that prevailed in Mt. Carmel's contest
  • The shield that protected Job in the storm of trials
  • The extinguisher that stopped the flames of fire for Shedrack, Meshack and Abed Nego
  • The muzzle that stopped the mouths of lion for Daniel
  • The medicine that cured the Namaan of Syria
  • The vision that was upon Mordecai and Esther, his niece






Faith is:
  • The soul's window through which God's love comes pouring in like a flood
  • The open hand whereby a sinner reaches out to God grace in salvation from sin
  • The sure link in Christ, between the most terrible sinner and the infinitely holy God
  • The trunk of salvation's tree, whose root is grace, and whose fruit is good works
  • Clasping and leaning on the everlasting arms of Christ
  • Committing one's ways to the Lord, knowing that He will whatever is best
  • Trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ enough to give Him all your sins
  • Receiving the kingdom (or rule) of God as a little kid
  • Being sure of what we hope for, and being convinced of what we do not see.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The greatest dangers facing the church in Kenya today


And I tell you, .... on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
(Matthew 16:18 ESV)
There is no question that the Lord Jesus Christ is building His church upon the rock of the truth presented by Peter here. There is no amount of worldly or Satanic intimidation that can yield any fruit to this end. He has already given His life to redeem her for Himself. He will soon come for her with great splendour as His own bride. 
So this article does not seem to downplay the power of Christ in establishing the church to be what He wants it to be. However, as a country we must be alive to the ills that are seemingly bedevilling the church of Christ so that those of us who have the capacity to do something will not be distracted from the proclamation of the gospel. We must give ourselves fully to the task of shepherding the flock of God which the Holy Spirit made us overseers. Those who care for the glory of Christ should take note of these dangers and do all they can to eschew them ASAP!

1. Doctrinal heresies



Many churches have no solid doctrinal or Biblical foundation because their pastors are not in the disciplined habit of a thorough study of the Bible. The effect is that there is a lot of compromise on the truths of the Bible. There are a lot of preachers who preach the most new ‘truth’. They say that whatever is sensational, that attracts as many people as possible must be what is good to preach about. You may find out this by checking out a few websites if these churches even post their doctrinal statement or confession of faith. 
So most of them copy the internationally acclaimed preachers and do not bother to check out the truth in what they preach. For example many are preaching deism because TD Jakes is preaching it. They deny the traditional doctrine of the Trinity because he denies it.  There is a great danger of men who are not thoroughly equipped for ministry being pastors of a flock.

Battle for the truth: It is on this soil that the Charismatic movement, the so called health and wealth or prosperity also called Word of Faith (WoF) movement has held firmly its tendons. The devil is being fattened on the diet of lies, either consciously or unconsciously. I think WoF is the greatest tragedy that has befallen the Kenyan church because this has penetrated all denominations and it is producing thousands of 'decisions for Christ' and in so doing inoculating people from the gospel as many are left thinking that they are saved when they are not. Decisional regeneration is the very tragic and it is demonstrated in the altar calls. True saving faith in Christ is always accompanied by repentance from sin. But these preachers have come up with a different faith and a different repentance. It is no longer faith in Christ alone, it is faith in oneself. It is no longer the sinner's repentance it is now 'preachers repentance' as it is the preacher's prayer that is repeated!


2. Ungodliness
Since wealth and health or prosperity gospel is very enticing as it is both sensational (appeals to emotion and not reason) and carnal (appeals to the flesh) many have run after it hoping to get rich quickly. Preachers are not dealing with the greatest need – sin. Instead they deal with people’s felt needs. The trials and difficulties affecting the society is what make the spiritual diets of many churches. Therefore there are so many preachers claiming to heal and to work miraclesl. They also pledge their hearers riches and job promotions. Many would promise those who attend their churches big cars and owning their own houses. They say that people are poor because they have generational curses that are hindering them from prospering. And so the answer is to visit their churches or to touch the television set (for many who are tele-preachers). Many now sell 'anointing oil' which is supposed to be the Midas power. Other preachers sell 'brooms' that are supposed to 'sweep' all the problems away. But the most shocking thing is that people are so gullible as to buy them!
Thousands upon thousands of people have been held captive by such preachers who rather than helping them, con them of their money. Clearly both the hearers are like because they love money as Paul describes it in 2Timothy 3:1-6. It is because of materialism that many are leaving their pulpits to be politicians as it was witnessed in 2007/2013 when many left pulpit to become councilors, Members of parliament and even one vied for presidency.
In the context of false teachers, Paul gives this counsel to Timothy:

You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:10-17 ESV)

3. Denominationalism
 Although the influence of ecumenism is waning it is still a danger for many churches. However it is taking another form of denominationalism whereby many people are leaving established churches to register their own with the government so that they are the ones who are at the helm of leadership. By 2010 there were more than 10,000 registered churches. Schisms and infightings are so common. The trend is still high because of leadership struggles. Most of these outfits are not worthy the name they call themselves and most of them are owned by individuals. Sadly this is what many are clamoring for and it makes Christianity in Kenya to be pathetic to those from other religions. This is so especially in slum areas where there are thousands upon thousands of ‘churches’. I took a walk in Dandora and I was shocked at what I saw. Almost every available space is taken up by churches of one sort or another.
Sadly this is not the unity that the Chief-Shepherd of the Church prayed for in John 17. True unity is only to be found where there is a deliberate fellowship in the truth. Where there is no truth, there will be fractured and dismembered, hypocritical unity. Ecumenicalism of NCCK is false because they unite under the 'lowest common denominator'. This means basic evangelical truths are sacrificed at the altar of unity (take unity here to mean presenting one national voice to the government on social-political issues)


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Prayer for Revival 2

Isaiah 64:1-12.
Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence—as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil— to make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome things that we did not look for, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him. You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways. Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved? We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities. But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Be not so terribly angry, O LORD, and remember not iniquity forever. Behold, please look, we are all your people. Your holy cities have become a wilderness; Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised you, has been burned by fire, and all our pleasant places have become ruins. Will you restrain yourself at these things, O LORD? Will you keep silent, and afflict us so terribly?

What is revival?

We can define it as a period of unusual blessing and activity in the life of the Christian Church. Primarily, of course, and by definition, a revival is something that happens first in the Church and amongst Christian people, amongst believers. That, I repeat, is true by definition. It is revival; something is revived and when you say that, you mean that there is something present that has life. But the life was beginning to wane, to droop, and had become almost moribund; and some people said, “That is dead, that is finished,” because they could not see much sign of life and activity. Revival means awakening, stimulating the life, bringing it to the surface again. It happens primarily in the Church of God, amongst believing people, and it is only secondly something that affects those that are outside also. Now this is a most important point because this definition helps us  to differentiate, once and for all, between a revival and an evangelistic campaign. (David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Revival, 99)

3.      In revival there is a remarkable display of the sovereignty of God in salvation (4, 7-12; 65:1)
There is no question that revival is a sovereign work of God. There is no question that no one can cause a revival, as a godly and powerful preacher he may be. Revivals cannot be planned. George Whitfield made thirteen trips from England to America, but only on one occasion in 1740-1742 revival break out. God knows what He is doing and He will not be cajoled or be arm-twisted to do what He does not want to do. For did we not hear the other day from the mouth of Job that He is God and His purposes cannot be thwarted?
God is not comparable with men or any of His creation. In our prayer for revival, we must always seek to maintain a clear vision of Creature-creature distinction. For ‘From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him. You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways. The otherness of God is such that He is absolutely different from what we have seen and have heard and known. Paul quotes this in 1 Cor. 2:9. For indeed, natural men are not only unable to comprehend God, but also the message of the gospel. God has to reveal these things to us by His Spirit
God has hidden His face from us because of our sins. For the Lord’s hard is not shortened that it cannot save, or His ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear (Isa. 59:1).
God of heaven is the Father of His people. He has loved them although they have so often proved themselves unlovable. And just as the father has no choice about loving his son, God is our Father in the sense that He has loved us in spite of ourselves. But we have to also realize that in comparison to our plight and the position of God is that of a clay and a potter – He can do with us as He wills. We are the works of His hands and so we must never ask Him what have you done? For who are you O man, to answer back to God? Will what is moulded say to its moulder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make vessel for honourable use and another for dishonourable use? (Rom. 9:20-21).
Our hope is in keeping on crying to the Lord to be merciful – not to deal with us and others as we and they deserve. We must keep on pleading to the Lord to reveal Himself to us by the richness of His grace for His name’s sake.  Unless the Lord save you by His grace you cannot be saved at all. For by grace are you saved through faith and this is not of yourself, lest any man may boast. Unless God reveal His favour, there is no one who can stand!
We read in the following chapter how God answers the prayer for revival. He says, “I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me. I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here am I, here am I”, to a nation that was not called by my name.” We have to acknowledge that the Lord will do what He will not because of the finesse of our prayers, or anything good in us. It is all because of God. May we find favour in His sight that He may send revival in our land and in our day.

4.      In revival there is a renewed desire for God in prayer
Here is a man, who having known that His only hope is in God, he turns to God in prayer. He prayed that God may rend the heavens and come down. He prayed not for small things but for the big things – things that are eternal and universal. He prayed for God to show Himself in the most wonderful way. So here is the key that the Lord has given to His people – to pray and meet Him that way in His throne of grace to find mercy and obtain grace in times of need. Aren’t we in need of spiritual awakening? We desire that God may be known, that He may be trusted and be glorified as the only God worthy of all praise.
There are people who discourage praying for revival. They think that since revival is display of the sovereignty of God in salvation, we should leave it to the discretion of God. But I suppose we can say the same for all things so that we are content to simply depend on the providence of God in all things. As much as I appreciate where they are coming from, I would say that there is a sense of hyper-Calvinism here. There is an aura of fatalism that does not auger well with the great marriage between the sovereignty of God and the human responsibility. If we pray for the conversion of sinners, we should also pray for the enmass conversion of sinners. And we should pray for believers to genuinely and sincerely live for their Saviour in a godly manner.
Apart from that, this passage tells us so boldly, that of course you should pray for revival because Isaiah prayed for it. He prayed for God to rend the heavens and come down that people may know Him and believe in Him and be saved. He prayed for God to kindle the fire and the fire causes water to boil. He prayed that God may make His name known to His adversaries. He considered the history of redemption and saw that God has come in revival and down outstanding redemptive activities and yearned for it and for more. He prayed for revival. He prayed because he looked at the environment in which he lived and was appalled, in prayer he said,
Your holy cities have become a wilderness; Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised you, has been burned by fire, and all our pleasant places have become ruins. Will you restrain yourself at these things, O LORD? Will you keep silent, and afflict us so terribly?”
Prayer for revival is an indication of frustration of the status quo and a desire for God to show His grace and stop the human madness and perdition. God will display His mercy and grace in revival and stop sin and its misery, how can we not pray for it?
We should pray that the Lord may pour His Spirit in great measure that we may witness God setting the hearts of men on fire for God, the wood of their hearts and cause the water to boil so that there will be a genuine love for God and spiritual things. we should pray that the Lord may give the Holy Spirit to convict men of their sins so that they may repent. To convince them of the righteousness which is freely given in Christ so that they may believe in Him and be counted as righteous in the sight of God.
Would you not want to see thousands of Al Shabbab militants come to faith? Would you not want to see the president come to a saving in Christ? Would you not want to see the throngs of men and women upon their knees calling on the Name of our Wonderful Saviour? We surely want to see the awakening of sinners from their stupor. We want them to see the terrible danger they place themselves and so we pray for their conversion.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Prayer for Revival

PART 1
Passage Isaiah 64:1-12.  
Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence—as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil— to make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome things that we did not look for, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him. You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways. Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved? We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities. But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Be not so terribly angry, O LORD, and remember not iniquity forever. Behold, please look, we are all your people. Your holy cities have become a wilderness; Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. Our holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised you, has been burned by fire, and all our pleasant places have become ruins. Will you restrain yourself at these things, O LORD? Will you keep silent, and afflict us so terribly?

When did you last hear anyone praying for revival, praying that God might open the windows of heaven and pour out his Spirit? When did you last pray for that yourself? I suggest seriously that we are neglecting this almost entirely. We are guilty of forgetting the authority of the Holy Spirit. . . . When God sends revival he can do more in a single day than in fifty years of all our organization. That is the verdict of sheer history which emerges clearly from the long story of the Church. (Martin Lloyd-Jones)

What is revival?
We can define it as a period of unusual blessing and activity in the life of the Christian Church. Primarily, of course, and by definition, a revival is something that happens first in the Church and amongst Christian people, amongst believers. That, I repeat, is true by definition. It is revival; something is revived and when you say that, you mean that there is something present that has life. But the life was beginning to wane, to droop, and had become almost moribund; and some people said, “That is dead, that is finished,” because they could not see much sign of life and activity. Revival means awakening, stimulating the life, bringing it to the surface again. It happens primarily in the Church of God, amongst believing people, and it is only secondly something that affects those that are outside also. Now this is a most important point because this definition helps us  to differentiate, once and for all, between a revival and an evangelistic campaign. (David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Revival, 99)

Having had this remarkable definition of what revival is, I would us to discover some essential features of revival in the chapter that we read. There are four that I can point out to you:
1.      In revival the Lord makes His presence and power known, suddenly and dramatically (vv. 1-3)
Here is a prayer for God to not just open the heavens, but to rend the heavens and come down quickly. Here is a call for God to intervene in the most unusual way. Here is a prayer for God to cause the mountains to quake at His presence just as He did in Sinai. To kindle fire. To cause the water to boil. To make His name known to His enemies. To move mightily and powerfully that the nations might tremble at His presence. Here is a prayer for God to do awesome things as He did in the past when He created and put everything else in place.
Who prayed that God may create the universe? None, yet God did these things that we did not look for. Who prayed that God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit may come up with the covenant of grace? Who prayed to be chosen of the Father before the foundation of the earth? Who prayed that God may send His only Son on earth to die for the sins of His people? Who prayed that the Holy Spirit may apply redemption in us? The answers to all these questions, is NONE. God did things that are eternal wonderful that we did not look for. God has acted in the most powerful way in the past. God has shown Himself, the most powerful God. Would He do it again in our time? Yes He would, if we pray.
We ought to pray that God may reveal Himself dramatically especially in our time when so many people have been held ransom by the deception of the enemy. Millions upon millions of people have been swallowed by the heresies of our day. They wallow in the mire of false teaching and deride in it. False teachers are multiplying by the day. Counterfeit churches are mushrooming by the hour. Synagogues of Satan are springing up every minute. May the Lord come down and stop this madness. May the Lord come to aid.
These explosion of heresy is the reason why we should call down to come dramatically so that He may cause everyone to stop and behold Him. They have come with what is regarded by those gullible people as power. We should pray that God may respond by power.
Revivals are marked by a sense of the nearness of the presence of God. His power is felt in a remarkable way – like the way He revealed Himself to the children of Israel to their salvation and to the Egyptians to their damnation. It has been reported that during the Great Awakening in America in the 18th century, that the presence of God was so powerfully felt that no dog dared move his tongue! (Derek Thomas)

2.      In revival there is great sense of the fear of God, leading to repentance and humility (vv.2, 5a-7)
Mountains quake at the presence of God, will mere men not tremble? If inanimate things like mountains have such a great fear of God that they quake at His presence, how much more the redeemed of the Lord who have been born, not just once but twice? How much more those who have been given the life of the Son of God? May the fear of God be seen in our lives more than ever.
God is angry at sin. We live in a world of sin and wickedness. We read, “Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we been a long time, and shall we be saved?" Here is someone who has known of the wrath of God. He understands that God’s wrath is only seen by those who have sinned. This causes him to own up His sins before the wrath of God is vented on Him. It is so real that he wonders if He can be saved at all. This is true I prefer to put it in the words of Jonathan Edwards, that American preacher who preached in Enfield, Connecticut, Sinners in the hands of an Angry God:
There is no want of power in God to cast wicked men into hell at any moment. Men’s hands cannot be strong, when God rises up. The strongest have no power to resist him, nor can any deliver out of his hands. He is not only able to cast wicked men into hell, but he can most easily do it. Sometimes an earthly prince meets with a great deal of difficulty in subduing a rebel, who has found means to fortify himself, and has made himself strong by the number of his followers. But it is not so with God. There is no fortress that is any defence from the power of God. Though hand join in hand, and a vast multitude of God’s enemies combine and associate themselves, they are easily broken in pieces.
They are as great heaps of light chaff before the whirlwind: or large quantities of dry stubble before devouring flames. We find it easy to tread on and crush a worm that we find crawling on us; so it is easy for us to cut or singe a slender thread that anything hangs by: thus easy is it for God when he pleases, to cast his enemies into hell. What are we, that we should think to stand before him, at whose rebuke the earth trembles, and before whom the rocks are thrown down?
Revival is particularly marked by a genuine humility and repentance. Looking at the state of affairs now, you would know that there is a great deal of insensitivity to the things of God. There is a remarkable hardening happening. So much wickedness and people are taking glory in it. Consider the sexual pervasion of our day – I keep on cleaning junk mail from men who are seeking to defraud me. They say that they have huge chunks of money that stole from their governments that they want to share with me. Since they know that like poles attract and birds of a feather flock together, they hope that they will excite covetousness on their prey and then defraud them. On the other hand, there are flocks of women who send mails to ask if I can play harlot with them. I clean them as swiftly as I can lest I be washed in this flood of dissipation. I don’t want to be drawn into the debauchery and lewdness of our day, so I delete them permanently.
Brothers and sisters, do not be drawn into this perdition that is taking root before our eyes. Homosexuality and bestiality – all these have always been there and the Lord tells of them. These are those that He has given up to their own sensuality and immorality. To the hardness of their hearts and the darkness of their minds.
But even as I bring this message to you, it is my prayer that you who is unconverted, you are not saved, you are not sure that you are headed to heaven, I would like you to know that you are in a terrible danger. You have heard the case of every one out of Christ. That for you a world of misery, a place of that lake of burning brimstone, is reserved for you. That there is a dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God; that there are unquenchable flames where worm does not die. Yes I want you to know that there is hell’s wide gaping mouth open; and you have nothing to stand upon, nor anything to take hold of, there is nothing between you and hell but the air; it is only
the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up. Unless you be in Christ you stand to lose all including your very soul. And my plea is that you may learn to repent like this man .

Monday, December 1, 2014