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Monthly Archives: June 2013

No Moderation, No Compromise

“Only you shall not go very far away” Exodus 8:28

This is a crafty word from the lip of the chief-tyrant Pharoah. If the poor bondaged Israel must go out of Egypt, then he bargains with them that it shall not be very far away; not too far for them to escape the terror of his arms, and the observation of his spies.

After the same fashion, the world…loves us (Christians) to be more lovable and not carry matters with too a severe hand…Worldly wisdom recommends the path of compromise, and talks of “moderation.” According to this carnal policy, purity is admitted to be very desirable, but we are warned against being too precise; truth is of course to be followed, but error is not to be severely denounced.

“Yes,” says the world, “be spiritually minded by all means, but do not deny yourself a little gay society…What’s the good of crying down a thing when it is so fashionable, and everybody does it?”

Multitudes  yield to this cunning advice, to their own eternal ruin. If we would follow the Lord wholly, we must go right away into the wilderness of separation, and leave its maxims, its pleasures, and its religion too, and go far away to the place where the Lord calls His sanctified ones.

When the town is on fire, our house cannot be too far from the flames. When the plague is abroad, a man cannot be too far from its haunts. The further from a viper the better, and the further from worldly conformity the better. To all true believers let the trumpet-call be sounded, “Come you out from among them, be you separate.”

Taken from “Morning and Evening” by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2013 in Christianity and Society

 

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My Reflections on God’s Sovereignty

God is Sovereign. He is in control of all that happens in this world and there is nothing that can come to pass without his knowledge or will. I strongly believe in this truth. Over the years as I have studied Scripture, I have come to realize that this is Biblically true and theologically sound. I have even gone ahead to teach and preach this truth in my theological classes and sermons.

However, some instances arise and challenge my belief.  These are the moments when I yield to the temptation of doubt and ask my God, “Why me or why this, Lord?” Alas, to believe this doctrine is one thing and to live it out when all chips are down is another. It really requires God’s grace.

There have been times when I have asked myself: “Is God really in control?”

These are the times when life has poured its bitter juice in my cup. Times that I have been on the receiving end of unjust and unfair treatment. Yes, times when I have suffered for doing nothing wrong.  In such moments, I have turned to God in tears. I have cried and wept asking for his intervention but silence has been the response and I have ended feeling like a helpless toddler crying for help in the middle of no where.

This helplessness mixed with anger has produced questions like: where are you God? Like David, I have wondered and cried:

“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I take counsel in my soul

And have sorrow in my heart all the day?

How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O LORD my God

Light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death” (Psalm 13:1-4).

In the midst of my cry, passages of Scripture which assures me of God’s sovereignty have come floating in my mind; and moments in which I have faithfully and passionately taught and preached God’s sovereignty have slowly played at the back of my mind. It’s really self-defeating! I have then asked myself: Is God in control. Yes! Has he forsaken me? No! Then why do I believe the opposite? I don’t know…but hard times really have a way of obscuring God’s truth from us.

Now when this truth of God’s sovereignty re-establishes itself in my life, I often tell myself, “Well, Lord, do as you please. I resign myself to your will.”

However, as the hard times rage on, I have repeatedly found myself back to square one questioning whether God is really in control. Whatever I resigned to God’s will, I quickly grab it back into my own hands and, sadly, this cycle goes on and on:  believing God’s sovereignty, questioning God’s sovereignty and back to believing God’s sovereignty again.

God is sovereign. Do I believe it? Yes! Do I live it? Not all the time. There are other times when I act and behave as if some things are beyond God’s control hence I have to take matters in my own hands. I am sorry Lord! But this is really me. I wish I could always live out the truth hence I pray that God will grant me the grace to always say:

“Though the fig tree should not blossom

Nor fruit be on the vines,

The produce of the olive fail

And the fields yield no food

The flock be cut off from the fold

And there be no herd in the stalls

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD

I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

GOD, the Lord, is my strength

He makes my feet like the deer’s

He makes me tread on my high place” (Habakkuk 3:17-19).

By His grace, I am learning to trust the LORD more. I am not there yet, but hopefully and prayerfully one day before I leave this life to be with Jesus in glory I will be able to both believe and live out the truth of God’s Sovereignty no matter the circumstances.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2013 in My Life as a Christian

 

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Sin is Serious Business

“Sin is sin, and we should not call it less than sin. It is not an act of love to explain sin away as psychological determinism or sociological conditioning, for it is real and must be dealt with. Men need a Savior. Therefore, Christians in our generation must resist relativistic and deterministic thinking. If men are going to find a real solution to the problem of who they are, they must come to terms with the fact that they need a Savior because they are sinners in the presence of a holy God. Sin is serious business.

Equally as Christians, sin in our lives is also a serious business. We are never merely to explain it away- in ourselves, in our group or in our family”

Taken from: No Little People by Francis A. Schaeffer.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Sound Teaching

 

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Enemies of the Cross

“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on thosewho walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly and they glory in their shame, with the minds set on earthly things” (Philippians 3:17-18).

Here we come to one of very sad and agonizing passages in the Bible. Apostle Paul gives us two groups of people found in Christianity.  First, they are those who like Paul imitate Christ. The apostle urges believers to follow the example of these people who have their eyes fixed on the cross of Christ.

Secondly, there is a group that Apostle Paul describes as enemies of the cross. Please note, these people are not outside Christianity. They are inside yet they are enemies of the cross. This is a very dangerous group of people because unlike those who are outside Christianity and openly oppose Christ, these people masquerade as Christians and pose like they are working for him yet the truth is otherwise.

The enemies of the cross have often been described as false teachers and false prophets. Now, it’s not funny to label anyone a false teacher or false prophet.  Personally, I hesitate to do so unless basing on the testimony of Scripture I clearly see that one is indeed a false prophet or false teacher since God’s Word assures us that “by their fruits, we shall know them” (Matthew 7:16, 20).

In the above passage, Philippians 3:17, 18, the Scripture describes the destiny as well as three fruits of the enemies of the cross. If these fruits or any of these are present in someone who claims to be a Christian or Christ’s servant, I would not hesitate to say that they are a false teacher or an enemy of the cross. Let every man be a liar but God’s Word alone should declare who the enemies of the cross are.

First, in the passage we see that the end or destiny of the enemies of the cross is destruction.  Friends, this is not a simple matter. No one should treat this matter lightly because it has to do with the wrath of God. The end of all the enemies of the cross is destruction. I shudder at this statement. Who can stand the wrath of God? Recall how God destroyed the entire earth except for Noah and his sons and a few animals and birds (Genesis 7:1- 24). Consider the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:23, 23). “OK, that’s the Old Testament,” someone might say.

Well, think about God’s wrath poured on Ananias and Sapphira for lying to Him (Acts 5:1-11). What about Herod who was struck down by an angel for robbing God of His glory (Acts 12:22, 23)? The New Testament goes further to describe the ultimate destruction of the enemies of the cross in the following way: “in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,” (2 Thessalonians 1:9). This can’t be a light issue; however, that’s what Scripture says is the end of the enemies of the cross. It’s really scary!

Secondly, the enemies of the cross have their belly as their god. They always work hard for their physical satisfaction and not to please God. They use God’s name to acquire and satisfy their wants. When ‘preaching’ what is supreme on their mind is not “Thus says the Lord” rather what will I gain after ‘preaching’ this message. Will people like me more and give me more money and gifts?  They work for their belly and not for God.

Thirdly, the enemies of the cross take glory in their shame. The things that they ought to be ashamed of are the things that they enjoy to do.  Instead of being ashamed that often they make the Bible say what it never meant and mean what it never said, they boast of getting special revelations which no one else can see in the Scripture apart from themselves. Some of the things they claim that Bible says are very shameful indeed.

I once heard of a preacher who told people that God had ordered him to collect a certain amount of money from Christians failing which he will die. This preacher had no shame to say this. Really? Can God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ kill a preacher because he has failed to receive an offering of a certain amount?  The examples are many. You can also consider of preachers who hire bodyguards to protect them even as they stand on the pulpit to preach God’s Word. Surprised? It is happening. Bodyguards around the pulpit to protect a man or woman of God as he/she is ‘sharing God’s Word’. Shameful indeed!

Finally, the passage highlights that enemies of the cross have their minds set on earthly things. “Forget about eternity, live your best life now for heaven is already here” is the mentality of the enemies of the cross. Now, if I can live my best life now here on earth, what will happen to me when I go to be with my Father in glory? At this point I would like to make this bold declaration: Anyone one who claims to serve Christ but doesn’t help God’s people prepare for eternity with Jesus fails in their task and this cap of the enemy of the cross fits them very well.

If truth be told, it is hard and painful to talk about these things. This is really a hard talk but we have to face it any way. The enemies of the cross really exist and by their fruits we know them.  The Bible reminds us not to follow or imitate them. Instead, we should join, imitate and keep our eyes on those who walk according to Christ and His Word. We thank God that by his grace we have such people who seek to honor and glorify Christ always and by the same grace we will follow them, will we not?

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2013 in Sound Teaching

 

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