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The Person and the Work of the Holy Spirit [Part 2]   Leave a comment

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

We have seen in the earlier post who Jesus said the Holy Spirit was and what would be His mission.

The scripture has also much to say about the nature and person of the Holy Spirit. As mentioned earlier, the main ministry of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world of its sin, God’s righteousness and coming judgement (John 16:8). To those who were convicted of their sinful state, believed in Jesus and were born again, they have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, John 14:17, 1 Cor 3:16, 1 Cor 6:19).  Being now a living habitation of God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit works in the heart of  these men to teach them whatever they need to know and do as children of God (John

Some 50 years ago, a missionary who came to preach in my country was expulsed by the government and had no more rights to visit my country. After a few years, the church continued to grow because the Holy Spirit was still at work. The missionary said: “You chased me but you could not chase the Holy Spirit away!”

If you fear that the bible writers did not record all the teachings of Jesus, rest assured that the Holy Spirit will teach them to you.

But you have received the Holy Spirit,and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.” 1 John 2:27

The Holy Spirit equips born again Christians with spiritual gifts

It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.” 1 Cor. 12:11

The Holy Spirit has its own will and it’s Him who decides what spiritual gifts should be distributed to God’s people. These spiritual gifts are primarily given to edify the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:7) and not for selfish reasons. There’s one body but many parts Paul said. Each members has been given different roles by the Spirit and we cannot expect each member to have the same gift. Paul said:  “Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not! So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts.” 1 Cor. 12:30

It is not a degree in theology which qualifies someone to be a pastor or teacher but it is only according to the Spirit’s will than men are empowered and given the spiritual authority to minister. It is vital that members of the body of Christ know clearly which spiritual gift they have and do not have so as to enable them to edify the body of Christ for its designed purpose.

The Holy Spirit produces His fruits in born again Christians

Jesus said that on judgment day many will say that they prophesied in his name, casted demons or made miracles in his name (Mat. 7:22). How then to discern if someone has genuinely a ministry or a spiritual gift which has been endorsed by the Holy Spirit? Jesus said : “You will know them by their fruits” (Mat. 7:16). A false prophet for example has as fruits carnal desires but one led by the Spirit bears the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:19).

The fruits of the Spirit in a born again Christian are clear evidence of the presence and the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not produce only one fruit but fruits. By producing the fruits of the Spirit ,we are being transformed in the image of the Son of God.

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Cor. 3:18

The Father is glorified when we bear much fruits. Jesus said: “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” John 15:8

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Posted June 25, 2016 by Cedric in Theology

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The Person and the work of the Holy Spirit [Part 1]   2 comments

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

In the 20th and 21st century there has been much debate and confusion about the work and the person of the Holy Spirit. When I was younger, I struggled to discern the truth out of the pool of information I got from church leaders, books and internet who all used the bible to support their arguments.

One school of thought prefers to play it safe by quenching the Spirit to avoid dealing with fake miracles or satanic  manifestations. However, this attitude will render the church members weak, idle for the Lord’s work and without vision.

Paul warned to the Thessalonians:

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.” 1 Thes. 5:19

On the other side, another school of thought fears the church to be “dead” or not led by the Spirit. In their endeavor, they have opened doors to practices that were not from the Spirit.

As Paul said to the Corinthians:

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.” 1 Cor. 14:33

If prophecies, tongues, healings or preachings do not occur in order, we can discern that these are not from the Spirit. Its source is either satanic or carnal.

Lack of discernment is what led the 2 school of thoughts to be on extreme sides and completely miss the work of the Spirit.

It was Jesus who revealed the Holy Spirit broadly and sent Him. It is therefore essential to understand who Jesus said the Holy Spirit was and what would be the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

What Jesus said about the Holy Spirit

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” John 14:16

The words used by Jesus to describe the Holy Spirit, indicate that the Holy Spirit is a person and not an influence. He is an actual life or an existence that has the faculties to reason and defend as an Advocate. Jesus used He/Him instead of “it” to describe the One who will lead into all truth. Power or energy does not have this ability to have the knowledge of what is true or lead into all Truth. The Holy Spirit is therefore not a power, though He has power (Acts 1:8).It is therefore abusive to call for the Holy Spirit only to get power. It is better to be powerless and have God by our side than having power and God far from us.

Jesus also gave an important command before He ascended to heaven: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Mat. 28:19

This baptism was done in the name of 3 persons which indicates that the Father, the Son and the Spirit were concerned and involved in the burial of the old nature. The Holy Spirit is mentioned at the same level because He is God. The Holy Spirit has the attribute of deity for the reason that He is “holy” by nature. Only God is holy. Secondly, God is eternal and so is the Holy Spirit who always existed(Gen.1:1)  and will exist forever(Heb. 9:14). He is omnipotent(Acts 8:39), omniscient(1 Cor. 2:10) and omnipresent(1 Cor. 6:19).

Jesus also talked about the ministry of the Holy Spirit:

And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me…” John 16:8-15
Convict the world of its sin
Christians are just messengers who call people to repentance but they are unable to make a sinner be convicted of his sins and willingly seek for repentance. It is the Holy Spirit’s mission to convince the world of its sin and to believe in Jesus.
Notice well that the sin mentioned here is very particular. It does not have to do with sins in general(adultery, thefts, lies…) but to the sin of unbelief in the work of the Son of God(Heb. 3:19, 4:6, Acts 28:23-28). Only one question will be sufficient to identify the righteous and the wicked. God will say : I sent Jesus to forgive your sins, did you believe in Him?
Jesus’ expiation of sins was for the whole world (2 Cor. 5:19, Rom. 5:8-10, John 1:29, 1 John 2:22, Rom. 3:21-26) and this gave everyone the opportunity to be saved. God wants all men to be saved. However, tragically not everyone wants to be saved. Not everyone wants to believe that Jesus died for their sins and that righteousness is imputed to them by faith in Him.

So we understand here that stirring the need to believe in Jesus is one of the primary ministry of the Holy Spirit. This is why we saw many miracles in the book of Acts done by the Holy Spirit during evangelism. Jesus revealed the Father to the world and the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to the world. If you have faith that the Spirit has this mission and you humbly want God to speak to people through you, pray and ask the Spirit to stir the heart of your neighbor, family, friend or colleagues and you will see whether a meaningful conversation about Jesus rises or not. I’m convinced God will answer this prayer. 

Convict the world of Jesus’ righteousness

The righteousness mentioned here has to do with the resurrection of Jesus and exaltation. While the world condemned Jesus as an unrighteous man who deserved the death penalty. They accused Him to be a sinner and being demon possessed(John 8:46) but God powerfully declared Him Righteous by raising Him from the dead, exalted Him to the Highest place(Phil. 2:8-11) and made Him sit on God’s throne(Mat. 19:28, Rev. 3:21).

Convict the world of the upcoming Judgment

There’s no escape, everyone will be judged (2 Cor. 5:10) at Christ tribunal. The prince of this world and all his followers will not go unpunished. The martyrs are waiting for Jesus to avenge their blood(Rev 6:10) and the cup of God’s wrath has long be kept and will be poured on on God’s enemies(Rev 14:10, Rev. 20:11-15). Do not think that God’s eyes are closed at the defying march of the gays and lesbians. If God is not judging them now for their defiance and remains silent to insults made unto His Holy name, His wrath is being reserved unmixed for Judgment day. Jesus and His followers were judged guilty on earth, tortured and murdered. In heaven, it will be Jesus who will judge the wicked, satan and his followers. God’s patience is not a weakness but a grace given to allow people to repent(Romans 2:4). The Spirit will remind the world that God’s judgment is real and the urgency to repent.

The message of the Gospel itself consists of 3 parts:

  1. All have sinned (Rom. 3:23)
  2. Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice to take away the sin of the whole world (1 John 2:22), has raised from the dead(Acts 13:35, Acts 2:24-31) and is exalted to the right hand of God.
  3. There will be no condemnation for those who believe in the work of Jesus(2 Cor. 5:17). Those who do not believe are already condemned (John 3:19) and will perish in hell.

It is vital that the Gospel we preach clearly declares to the world that they  that they stand in condemnation unless they believe in Jesus. This was the message preached by Jesus, by the apostles in Acts and what the Holy Spirit continues to inspire men to preach.

Posted June 11, 2016 by Cedric in Theology

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The sign of Jonah   Leave a comment

Sign of Jonah

Sign of Jonah

One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority.”But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Mat 12:38,39

Most probably, the reason these Pharisees came were not to believe in Jesus. They have seen sufficient miracles previously and they hardened their hearts. They acknowledged the miracles Jesus did and blamed Him for healing on the sabbath day. They also dared to say that Jesus was demon possessed and casted out demons through Satan. Jesus said in Mat 11:21-23 that if Sodom, Tyre and Sidon saw these miracles they would have repented. Jesus had in front of him hardened hearts that would not repent no matter what miracles were done. It was God Himself who preached during all these years on the land of Israel. It was not a mere man like Moses or Isaiah. Jesus preached what was exactly required to bring souls to repentance. But still, people refused to believe in Him and He was rejected.

Jesus would therefore not bend to the request of the Pharisees. With all the knowledge they had, they should have been the first to repent and draw the land of Israel to the Messiah. Jesus already knew their hearts and motives. No, He would not in any way grant this request. Should God almighty prove His authority for men to believe in Him, is not His existence sufficient? Should our Lord do miracles for us to believe in Him? Believe in Him first then hopefully a miracle can follow. Many times we want God to do miracles and show signs in order for us to have faith in Him. Let Him have your heart first because drawing out a list of wants!

In other translation it says “Only an evil, faithless generation would ask for a miracle sign“.  Do you understand that faith precedes your desires? God is not a genie whose tasks is to perform signs and wonders to entertain men. God is not our servant, we are His servants. Jesus healed the sick and demon possessed as a respond to their faith.

What did Jesus say to Martha?

Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” John 11:40

Why do we expect to see God’s glory, miracles and His power with a faithless heart? Believe first, trust Him then if God wills it, He can grant a blessing. God is not indebted to us to prove His authority through miracles.The miracle that would be granted, the essential one, would be His death and resurrection. What does man need more to believe in the Son of God? The sign of Jonah is a powerful sign from God that the crucified and risen Son is God’s appointed Savior.

Therefore, ahead of time, no man shall be able to blame God for his unbelief.

What happened in the wilderness for 40 years? Did not God do miracles in Egypt to prove through signs and wonders His power? Why is it then that God judged the Israelites (Num. 14:11)? It was because of their unbelief. Unbelief is a gross sin. God did miracles to draw these Israelite to Him but they still had an unbelieving heart.

God said:

How long will these people treat me with contempt? Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them?not one of these people will ever enter that land… They have all seen my glorious presence and the miraculous signs I performed both in Egypt and in the wilderness, but again and again they have tested me by refusing to listen to my voice.” Num 14:11,22

The whole generation perished in the wilderness (Heb 3:16-19) because of unbelief. These Israelites were following Moses in the wilderness because they ate manna, meat and saw miracles in Egypt. When these miracles were withdrawn, here they were complaining! Why is it then? They followed God because of miracles and not because they personally believed in Him. They blamed Moses for bringing them in the wilderness to perish. This remark clearly showed that they had not the promised land in mind. They were just surviving without any hope. However, Moses, Joshua and Caleb continued to believe in God through tough times even there were no miracles.

But did not Gideon (Judges 6:17) and Hezekiah (2 Kings 20) asked for signs? They did and that these people were commended by God for their faith (Hebrews 11:32, 2 Kings 20:2). It was their faith which made them ask for signs.

In John 6:26-31, the crowd came to Jesus after they were fed by Him. Jesus said:

I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. ”

Do you see the danger of following Jesus because of miracles? Miracles can help catching the attention of unbelievers. However, we should be careful that it is not the basis of our faith in Christ.

The crowd said to Jesus: “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

Once gain we see man’s nature to want to experience before trusting.  Jesus put it clear that what God wants is to “Believe in the one he has sent”. This is the prerequisite.

It seemed they did not understand Jesus’ reply and the people said again:

Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do?After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

God confirmed He was with Moses when He gave bread from heaven to the ancestors. So in order to challenge Jesus authority, the Jews were asking Jesus to show evidence that He was called by God by doing a miracle. Jesus had just given them bread and fish and its astonishing why the Jews asked for a new sign.

Jesus then said that He is the bread of life that would be able to satisfy them.

The people of Nineveh will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent.” Mat 12:41

Posted February 6, 2014 by Cedric in Theology

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So Great Salvation [4]   Leave a comment

So Great Salvation

So Great Salvation

So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?” Hebrews 2:3

In the previous post So Great Salvation [3], we have seen the work of the Spirit to convict souls of sin and the necessity of repentance. Now that the sinners acknowledged their sins and repented, they need to live by faith in the Son of God alone.

Paul said: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal 2:20

Paris Reidhead probably showed different stages of this salvation to emphasize the necessity of each. It is important to note though that all these stages can happen instantly. A soul can be awakened, convicted of sin, repent and have faith in the Son of God all in one go.

Our next theme is now FAITH.

But it is impossible for a sinner to live by faith in the Son of God unless there has been conviction of sin and repentance. How can a soul rely on the Son if there has not been initially acknowledgement of sins?  This is another plague in our churches.

If we ask a Romans Catholic “Do you have faith in Jesus? Do you believe you’re a sinner and He died for your sins?”. Of course they will say!

This is an intellectual belief. The Catholic priests have such a sincere but dead faith. Dear readers, this is also the case in many of our churches. Many left a religion and joined Christ’s church without genuine fruits of repentance. Last year while making a shortcut through a Catholic church’s yard, I passed before its door and for the few seconds I crossed, I heard the priest say eloquently that it was vital to have faith in Jesus.  Faith in Jesus is preached in Catholic church as well as in protestant churches. I was invited to the first communion of a relative and given a leaflet. That child made a fantastic confession of faith towards Jesus. I was left benumb when I read on top of a leaflet a verse quoted from Ephesians 5 which said not to worship idols and yet I saw on tables several statues of Mary.

So you see genuine faith in Christ must be preceded by acknowledgement of sin otherwise it is a dead faith. Is not it this acknowledgement of sin which will make the depraved soul realize his need of a Savior?

John the Baptist said to the Pharisees:

You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee and escape from the wrath and indignation [of God against disobedience] that is coming?Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart]” AMP

In the NLT it says: “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones.” Mat 3:9

The modern John the Baptist would have probably said to church members “Why are you in the pews? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say in your heart that you were baptized, did good deeds and live a good life.”

The devil knows more about Jesus’ sovereignty than us but that did not and will not lead him to repentance. James said: “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God.Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.” James 2:19

Having faith in Jesus without repentance is therefore a devilish “faith”. It is subtle because those who believe in Jesus only with their mind but without change of heart are still sinners.

These people agree with sermons and what God said in His Word but there is no fruit of repentance. It is like saying “I know Jesus is God and that He hates promiscuity, but nevertheless I still do it“.

Paul said that it is by believing in our heart that we are saved.

And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” Romans 10:9-10

Don’t be surprised, most sinners know their sins and know who Jesus is. This knowledge of sin in the mind is necessary but not enough to lead to repentance. When we love someone, all our being is involved. It involves our intellect and heart. Our physical actions and what we say are means to demonstrate this love. It is the same for repentance, our heart must be involved in it. What we confess and what we do are these fruits of this repentance. Our allegiance to Christ is demonstrated by these.

Do you understand dear readers that it is impossible that someone who genuinely claims to have faith in Jesus to continue live in sin? There must be fruits of repentance.

Paul said “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” 2 Tim 2:19

Posted January 11, 2014 by Cedric in Theology

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So Great Salvation [3]   Leave a comment

So Great Salvation

So Great Salvation

So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?” Hebrews 2:3

In the previous post So Great Salvation [2], mentioned was made on the divine awakening made to sinners. These awakenings signs are everywhere, through the media, books, songs and nature. Unfortunately, not everyone wants to wake up from this sinful life because they like their sins and fear the Light (John 3:20). The god of this world has blinded the conscience of sinners.

However, the good soil represents those who were stirred by the awakening signs. Note that the same seed was sown on different soils. The reason it bore no fruits on some hearts resides not in its quality but in the hearts which received it.

We will now move on the next 2 stages of this salvation which are Conviction and Repentance. This is the work of the Spirit and no one else has the authority to do it. In essence, both awakening and conviction aim to make sinners realize their sinfulness and their need of God. The Spirit will bring conviction of sin to those who were awakened by the signs.

And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me.” John 16:8

It is interesting to note there that the #1 sin Jesus mentioned is not debauchery, vices, lies or common sins. The sin is unbelief. The list would be too long if our sins were named one by one. If I believe in Jesus, my sins are forgiven and it would be unnecessary to list down all my sins since they are all wiped off. If I refuse the Son, it implies that all my sins are still there. Faith or unbelief in Jesus is therefore sufficient to determine who will be forgiven and condemned.

When Peter preached, the Jews said: “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Acts 2:37

The Jews were convinced at this instant that they were sinners and looked for a solution. So Peter told them: “Peter replied “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38

God’s law itself makes us aware that we are transgressors and rebels. Now that the sinner realized his sinful heart, he asks anxiously “What will happen to me, what can I do, who will deliver me from this life of sin, I’m wretched and doomed to destruction, what have I done?

Thanks be to God, Jesus is the clear answer to these disturbing questions. Repent and believe in the name of Jesus-Christ and your sins will be forgiven.

Have you ever been convinced of sins to the point you asked yourself “what must I do to be saved from this body of sin“?

Paul said: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:24

If many people in the church are still slave of vices, it is because they did not repent. They did not repent because they were not convinced of how vile these sins were in God’s eyes. Could it be that they have not been convinced of their sins because they have never been awakened?

What was the message of John the Baptist?

 Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near

This is what our Lord Jesus Christ said:

and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Luke 24:47

Preach repentance messenger of God lest the pews be filled with heathen and your name be wiped off from the book of life for entertaining them!

Woe to grace preachers who refuse to preach repentance for fear of offending sinners.

Conviction of sin is not a festive moment for sinners, it is a moment of sorrows and grief that leads the soul to repentance. It is a grace of God to be able to repent.

do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.” Romans 2:2

But these sorrows are temporary since forgiveness follows repentance.

Paul even required repentance in the church. He did not use velvet gloves with them. This is what he said:

I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while.Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.” 2 Cor 7:8-11

It hurts when sin is being dealt with. Surgical operations are tough for a while but unless it is done there cannot be any expectation of health improvement. It is the kind of repentance God requires. What grace preachers teach are at best worldly sorrows but not repentance. These worldly sorrows results in spiritual death and not life since it makes people believe they are forgiven. It is like soothing the pain caused by cancerous cells through pain killers without actually dealing with it. Repentance is finishing once for all with sins that enslave. The result of repentance brings life but not everyone wants to repent because of their pride. It is a painful decision that many refuse to take because of the potential change of life that will incur. Fear of what people will say also make people refuse to repent. Genuine repentance does not look at what people will say. The soul who repents knows that the One he offended is God Almighty and approval of man no longer counts.

Basically, in order for repentance to occur, sinners need to be convinced of what they did wrong. I have seen with my eyes children who thought they were saved from their sins because they repeated a prayer of repentance taught by a minister. Oh what has the church done! We have excluded the Holy Spirit from the salvation of these souls! Only the Spirit can convince the soul of sin and bring it to repentance. How then can there be genuine repentance if there has been no conviction of sin? How can conviction of sin occur apart from the work of the Spirit? Preachers have not been given this divine authority to convince people of sin, this is the work of the Spirit. Servants of God are to preach God’s Word and let the Spirit make the soul born again. We do not understand how a soul is born again. It is a mystery Jesus said.

Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” John 3:6-8

God called us to preach the gospel and make disciples (Mat 28). Paul planted seeds through evangelism and Apollos did the follow up. But who made the seed turn to a plant? It was God the Holy Spirit who intervened in the middle and made this miracle of new birth. It was Him who brought people to repentance.

I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.” 1 Cor 3:5

Let us preach repentance nothing more, nothing less. God’s Word is powerful enough to quicken the soul of man. The Spirit will make the seed sown grow, convict sinners of sin, bring souls to repentance and do the miracle of the new birth. Through all the stages of this So Great Salvation, the Spirit is actively at work.

Posted January 6, 2014 by Cedric in Theology

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So Great Salvation [2]   Leave a comment

So Great Salvation

So Great Salvation

So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?” Hebrews 2:3

As mentioned in the post So Great Salvation [1], we will have to give an account of what we did with this Salvation God provided.

Paris Reidhead mentioned 5 stages of this salvation. These stages depict what happens before salvation and when we are saved.

The first point mentioned was:

  • Awakening

Ephesians 5:14 says :

But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them,for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

This is like God’s voice calling to the dead to raise from their darkness. Jesus’ light penetrates the dead spirit of man to revive it. This quickening happens through various means. It could be through scripture reading, sermons ,songs, dreams, nature, miracles or prayers. For instance in Hebrews 4:12 we read this about God’s Word:

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

Paul says in Romans 1:19-21 that nature itself gives witness to God:

They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks.”

There’re ongoing reproofs surrounding sinners. The name of Jesus makes demons tremble and I believe that when this powerful divine being is presented to sinners, it brings fear.

Why is it then that amidst all these obvious signs pointing to Christ that the Jews refuse the Messiah and pagans blaspheme against His holy name? Why are there still unrepentant hearts, sinners,  rebels and servants of the devil? What is a hardened heart? It is when a sinner reads the bible verses quoted in this post and still refuse to repent.

Paul gives this reason:

If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” 2 Cor 4:3-4

People don’t understand the Gospel, ignore Jesus and even speak against Him because they are under the power of Satan. Satan has blinded the minds of those who are perishing. They will NOT know who God is unless the Light shines in their darkness. It is therefore the responsibility of those who has the light within them, to shine it. We need to tell to people about their need to be saved before telling how to be saved.

We read in Matthew 4:15 :

… in Galilee where so many Gentiles live,the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.”

Paul asked this question: “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?” Romans 10:14

We are living in a world more corrupted than it was 2000 years ago. People’s heart are so hardened to the gospel that they celebrate Christmas with a whisky in hand! They go to church on the 25th december and celebrate Jesus’ birth as a feast. If they only knew that these celebrations were blasphemy against the Son of God! Knowing that Jesus came to save sinners should bring sinners to their knees and not feast. A few weeks ago I asked a friend :

Why do you celebrate Christmas? He said because Jesus came. I asked him why did He come? He replied because of our sins. Notice well, he did not say “because of sins” but because of his sins also. Is not it a tragedy that people know the truth and blatantly spit at it? The world know that we are stepping into 2014 because 2014 years ago Jesus came. These people already know the truth but they ignore it.

They do not want to be awakened. Why is it then that some believe and others do not want to believe in Jesus? John 3:18 says:

But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants

The reason some hate the light and refuse to draw near to it is because of their pride. They fear that their sins are exposed publicly. They still love their sinful way of living. Promiscuity, adultery, debauchery, drunkenness, crime, avarice and evil pleasures that satisfy their flesh keep them away from this holy God. Those who want to be awakened draw closer to the Light. It is like admitting we are sick, see the surgeon to remove the cancerous cells. I have met people who feared to see a doctor because they were shy to talk about their illness. For years they remained like that and their health deteriorated. Removing dysfunctioning parts of one’s body is fearful for a while. But the more we wait, the more we suffer. Without surgical intervention to remove these dead cells, the whole body will continue to perish. It required divine intervention to heal our dead soul. The tragedy is that not everyone wants to be healed.

Jesus preached exactly what was required to bring the Jews to repentance. He did miracles no one ever did. Still, He saw that His Words could not penetrate hardened hearts. People saw His miracles but it had no effect. They heard His Words but did not listen. He even said that if Sodom, Tyre and Sidon heard and saw all these miracles they would have repented. But woe to Bethsaida and Korazin who thought themselves wise and rejected Him (Mat 11:21,22, Mat 12:41)!

For they look, but they don’t really see.They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand” Mat 13:13

When you hear what I say,you will not understand. When you see what I do,you will not comprehend.For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear,and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.”

God’s Words sowed are awakenings but if the heart is not receptive to these awakenings, the devil come and steal them (Mat 13:19).

Posted December 30, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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Epistle to the Hebrews (13:22-25)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to pay attention to what I have written in this brief exhortation.I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released from jail. If he comes here soon, I will bring him with me to see you.Greet all your leaders and all the believers there. The believers from Italy send you their greetings.May God’s grace be with you all.” Hebrews 13:22-25

In his concluding words, our author recommends that the readers take heed to his exhortations. It was a breath taking letter concerning Jesus’ sovereignty, His ministry and major doctrines. Our author urged the readers to consider what he was able to put in writing. As mentioned earlier, our epistle is hugely compacted with teachings and requires the readers to examine a few verses at a time, in the light of the whole scripture. Our author adopted an argumentative style to reinforce all his exhortations. Our author did not leave the readers guessing but supported his arguments through scripture. This is probably what makes our epistle so powerfully established as an authority regarding the deity of Christ and His sacrificial work. As a previous skeptic concerning the deity of Christ, I bowed to my knees and closed my mouth when I realised that I was kicking against the goads. I felt like Job who said:

The Lord said to Job:“Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him! ”Then Job answered the Lord:“I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?I put my hand over my mouth.I spoke once, but I have no answer—twice, but I will say no more.” Job 40:1-5

I’m grateful to God for His patience to teach me about His Son in this epistle.

In the introduction of our epistle, we saw that our author worked with Timothy and was in Rome (Titus 3:12, Acts 28:31). This is a probably a hint that the author could be Paul. Adam Clarke had the hypothesis that the introduction to the epistle was lost which could explained why we have an anonymous author. It is always an honor to send salutations to co-workers of the gospel. We are all united in Christ and soldiers of the same army. Christ has only one bride and there’s only one global church. We share the same faith and it’s always an honor to meet a Christian. Is not it a blessing when a Christian wishes wholeheartedly “May God’s unmerited favor rest upon you”  ?

I picture the salutations of Christians as 2 soldiers of the same army who for some spiritual reasons crossed each other for a while on the battlefield. They know they will never meet again because they have other duties just after. They tell each other to take courage, take care and persevere. They look at each other with eyes of love and quickly connect. Even if they do not know each other, they will not hesitate to risk their lives to protect their companion. We can be in different ministries or battles but we are in the same war.  We wait for Christ’s Kingdom to come.

Our war is not “against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” Eph. 6:12

These words : “Greet all your leaders and all the believers there” seem to me like a high profile general greeting other generals and their soldiers.

Paul said in Romans 16:16-20:

Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetingsThe God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”

Let us not imagine that God’s frequent silence to the sin around the world infers that the God of peace is also at peace with Satan. Satan’s defeat will soon be consumed.

Posted October 19, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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