Archive for the ‘bible’ Tag

Vengeance and retribution are mine   Leave a comment

Is it not laid up in store with Me, Sealed up in My treasuries? Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip;For the day of their disaster is at hand,And their doom hurries to meet them” Deut. 32:35

In as much as we rejoice contemplating the loving character of God we should also contemplate His righteousness. If God is only loving and demonstrates no justice, this would lead to a disorderly, immoral and corrupt world. Is not it what we are seeing around us daily? True.

God has already taken the first step by demonstrating His love to humanity through Jesus. All men are being given the chance to repent before He takes the second step – judgement. Meanwhile, unrighteousness and injustice will continue and we should not be surprised to face injustice.

Is there anything worst than facing an angry God? It’s a God who does not act out of impulse, but patiently stores up His wrath to pour it out with might and fury against all ungodliness and unrighteousness- until the very essence of divine patience itself is brought to exhaustion.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” Rom. 1:18

But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done.” Rom. 2:5

The martyrs in the book of Revelation cried out for justice to the Lord:

They cried in a loud voice, saying, “O Lord, holy and true, how long now before You will sit in judgment and avenge our blood on those [unregenerate ones] who dwell on the earth?

They were comforted and told to wait a little longer until the cup of God’s fury reached the rim.

Then they were each given a white robe; and they were told to rest and wait quietly for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers and sisters who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed” Rev. 6:10

It is as though God is waiting for the blood of the last martyr to be shed so that His judgement be complete and thus rendering justice to all who would be oppressed, missing no one. No one will escape judgement, so why would God hurry to give incomplete justice? God will have eternity to handle billions of cases as it should, without getting weary or feeling under pressure. It will be a solemn moment for all creatures in heaven and earth when every man, one after the other, will have to face His Creator before the judgement seat.

In our perspective, it often appears that God is late to act and give justice. If you have faith, it’s not over yet. There will be a day where all cases of injustice and unrighteousness will be properly dealt with, with all due sentences. Even if the highest courts on earth fail to give proper justice, God still listens attentively and heartbrokenly those who have remitted their fates unto Him. His retribution is already in His hand and He treats not the culprit as innocent. No, the guilty of unrighteousness will not escape unpunished. At the right time, in His time, He will promptly act. He will not delay. 

Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” Luke 18:8

Even if we watch helplessly and desperately the injustice, our sighs are known. God hears night and day the cries of those facing injustice. The right sentence and payment for that injustice are recorded and securely sealed up in his treasuries awaiting pronouncement. No one will ever be able to steal or trick evidences to influence a verdict. There is no possibility of false witnesses or lies in His sight.  

Our words are all heard and we’ll need to give an account of them all, let us therefore be slow to speak for we’ll be judged according to what we say.

As Jesus said: “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” Mat. 12:36

The righteous God cannot leave unpunished the sins of men thus all men will have to face His wrath and retribution. Without Jesus as advocate no man will ever be able to leave God’s court of judgement innocent.  The wrath which has been stored up and would have fallen on men has been poured out on Jesus as it is written :

Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin” Is. 53:10

However, woe to those who have rejected God’s salvation – Jesus. As it is written:

The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” John 3:36

 

Posted August 13, 2020 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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A sheep without a shepherd   Leave a comment

Sheep without a Shepherd

I once remarked to my wife of this unshaved old man I usually see strolling on the streets or travelling in the bus all day long. He did not have the characteristics of a man moving with a purpose or objectives (like going to work) but he looks more as someone moving around aimlessly and confused.

He was like that detached leaf battered where the winds blew or like a floating debris carried at the mercy of the waves after a shipwreck. My wife reminded me of the story the man erring in the wilderness as the evil spirit led (Luke 8:29). If Jesus is not holding the reins, we may end up either erring/running like a mad horse in all directions or invite the devil to take the reins (Luke 11:24-26).

There has been and there’re still many such wandering sheep moving wherever an opportunity of greener grass is seen. They are never satisfied with what they have and keep on moving. They have no stability. They keep on changing jobs, lovers or locations because they are masters of their own destiny and are without reins. They have therefore no one to direct their paths or cause them to stop or move.

This is how Jesus saw that crowd of needy and lost people coming to Him:

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Mat. 9:36

Why are people confused, stressed and wonder the purpose of this life? Why are people surviving instead of living this life to its fullness? Why so many agitated, anxious, worried, unsatisfied and troubled souls?

Who can bring peace and satisfy the soul of man if not God? Unless a man surrenders his will to obey the Shepherd, there cannot be long lasting peace. It is this endless search for perfection, more money and higher position that causes men to go astray. Wisdom says that the grass is green and safe to eat only where the Shepherds brings its sheep, not necessarily where the majority of sheep vote.

It is dangerous for a sheep to err. A sheep without a shepherd will be unable to defend itself against predators. It may fall in a pit without anyone knowing. This is why it is important to have God as shepherd. God does not abuse emotionally, intellectually, physically or spiritually but really cares and loves people. God sent Jesus to be like a shepherd for the human race but many people refuse to trust the divine Shepherd for providing, guiding and protecting them. Human beings need God as David said:

The Lord is my shepherd;I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths…I will not be afraid,for you are close beside me.Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me” Ps. 23

 

Posted June 1, 2020 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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A good tree cannot bear bad fruits   Leave a comment

The fruit and its tree

My wife and I have been observing the growth of a tree in our garden for several months and we are still unable to determine precisely to which tree it corresponds. However, we know that it is a citrus plant by scenting it leaves. We came to the conclusion that we need to wait for this tree to bear fruits to identify it. It has not ever crossed our mind that this tree could bear papayas or litchis because the tree’s structure and characteristics suggest that it is impossible for such a tree to bear fruits outside the citrus family. While it is not always obvious to determine a tree by only looking at it’s structure, it becomes evident when we look at its fruits. We cannot get bananas on a citrus tree nor can we get grapes on thornbushes.

This is how Jesus contrasted peoples’ actions and fruits. What you say and do clearly determines to which tree you belong.

Jesus said:

Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” Mat. 7:18-20

A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Luke 6:44-45

Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned” John 15:5

Jesus’ made the above illustrations so the listeners and readers could understand clearly by looking at nature.

Several points we could observed:

  1. We are considered as being a branch because we are the intermediate structural part between the fruit and the tree.
  2. A branch cannot survive without being connected to the tree (while a tree can survive without a branch)
  3. The fruit is a result of the plant’s DNA and the sap that flows from the roots to the leaves is what nourishes the tree and its fruit.
  4. Since the fruit produced is a result of the genetic/hereditary materials it receives, the branch cannot on its own produce a fruit which is different from its nature from where it originated.
  5. Jesus is the true Vine and every branch attached to Him should not only produce grapes but do so so abundantly. This Vine is not sterile but has a powerful life giving sap and it would be abnormal if its branches do not overflow with fruits.
  6. Not only should the Vine produce grapes but these grapes should be of good quality because the Vine is healthy and the grapes it produces cannot be bad. A good tree cannot bear bad fruits.
  7. Before and after Jesus talked about the tree and its fruits (Mat 7), Jesus talked about the narrowness of the gate, the true disciples and building on solid foundation. This again suggests that remaining in Jesus for salvation is the only way to heaven. All other foundation will collapse on judgement day. Not all those who call Him ‘Lord’ will enter heaven but only those who do the will of His father and go through the narrow gate and difficult path. Christ should be allowed to work in us and prune us . This pruning process is what renders the path difficult as the self is being crucified and no one will be able to go through the narrow gate if he carries the big yoke of sin(the encumbrance).

These words of Jesus are quite shocking because this means that if one’s actions, thoughts or words are bad then this necessarily means that this person is not attached to the true Vine for the true Vine’s nature would never bear such fruits.

When Paul spoke of how the Gentiles have been included to the salvific plan initially given to the Jews, he made use of the concept of “ingrafted branches”.  Grafting is similar to the medical concept of transplant where a body part is transplanted to a foreign body. This is what Paul said:

if the root is holy, so are the branches. If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble.” Rom. 11:16-20

Elsewhere, Paul speaks of putting off the old self

to put off your old self,which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph. 4:22

This is the miracle of salvation. Christ took a human body like ours and has taken us, the branches, from the false vines or bad trees and ingrafted us in Him so we may bear fruits of a new nature and quality. These fruits are different from the original ones we used to bear when we were attached to a bad tree or false vine (Rom 6:21).

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed?” Rom. 6:21

However, since God has given us the freewill, He urges the ingrafted branches to remain in Him to live by the sap’s vitality. There is a clear distinction between those who profess to know Christ, never knew Christ and those who really knew Him. The apostate is one who really knew Christ ,received the Holy Spirit (Hebrew 6:4-8, Hebrews 10:26-30) and then turn away from Him. He commits such an unforgivable sin that it is impossible to bring him back to repentance. As Peter said, it would have been better if these people never knew Christ than know Him and then turn away from Him (2 Peter 2:21-22).

Those who no longer want to remain in Christ still have the freewill to detach themselves from the Vine (apostasy). Only the Gardener has the power to cut off branches that bears no fruits. As long as one remains in Christ His salvation is eternally secured and no one will ever be able to cut off a branch from the Vine or snatch us out of His hand (John 10:28). However, if one wants to leave God’s mighty hand, God will not force anyone to remain. Remaining in Christ and totally depending on His power is an integral part of salvation and God is glorified (not us) when we bear much fruits.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” John 15:1-8

Posted May 17, 2020 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Only One is Good   Leave a comment

Dieu

What has God done that He is labelled as being a good God?

People are dying of hunger and incurable diseases daily and man looks to heaven and say within its heart “How can a good God exist?“.

Many humans are being abused , tortured and going through inhuman conditions daily and why does not the one called omnipotent God who sees and knows everything does not put an end to all these miseries?

Man reasons in his heart and points a finger to the sky and say : “If there is a divine being up there, you cannot be good

The world is unfair, cruel and selfish and God does not intervene to bring justice to the oppressed? Where is God when it hurts? Why is God silent? Does God exist?

Man accuses God of failing in His role to protect and even hold Him responsible of all the tragedies it is facing. It would seem fair if those accusations against God could be placed in a court and find out whether God is guilty of all those charges brought against Him.

Fair enough! God came on earth in the person of Jesus and was judged by the Romans, which was the largest empire of the ancient world. When God came, He did heal the sick and help the oppressed. More than that, He came to bring a real cure to the world’s problem – sin. Sin in man is what caused him to be selfish. If there’re many poor people in a part of the world and wastage of food in another, it is because man is selfish. If millions of babies are killed it is because man and woman have become promiscuous and refuse to assume the responsibility of their acts. The ozone layer is damaged because of man’s greed for money and industrialization. The global warming effect is a direct result of man’s acts. If nature has become so disturbed such that the north and south poles have lost millions of cubic metres of ice in the last decades, the sea level has risen and dangerous cyclones have struck the world then I guess that man should be reprehensible in this matter. Millions of species have been destroyed and even disappeared because of man’s greed. Man’s greed and defiance led him to start eating such food that is poisonous or dangerous for its immune system. It’s not because of scarcity of food that man started to eat bats, reptiles or horrendous animals but because man has an unquenchable envy to defy God. Man has invented new ways of evil by making available live scenes of pornography on television or online. How do we expect man to have pure thoughts when he has been exposed to such obscenity? Our world has become depraved and corrupted because man has become rebellious to the counsels of their parents. If a man rejects counsels from the parents he sees how can he ever listen to a God he does not see?

Just look at the effect of the Covid-19. A few days ago, scientists observed that the largest arctic ozone layer ever discovered has been closed. Was it God who closed that hole or was it a direct result of the global lockdown which put a halt to pollution? Several renowned scientists agreed that the Covid-19 virus is an animal to man transmission. If man did not eat such wild animals as bats, reptiles or pangolins, the world would not have been in such chaotic situation. In the book of Leviticus, God has explicitly indicated that such animals should not be eaten but man preferred to disobey God’s command.

As long as man will insist to keep God away, the world would not become any better.  Scientists have contributed largely in the destruction of the world (nuclear bomb), nature(e.g. ozone layer) and have never been able to repair what they destroyed. Cigarettes, additives, colorants and preservatives added in food has contributed to the growth in cancer throughout the world. Does not man has responsibility in the spread of cancer?

God has already provided a cure to the ailments of society and diseases through the person of Jesus. Money is the root of all evils and the greed of money is a sin. God has been so good that He sent Jesus to the world to remove this evil among man but will man accept to repent of its sin? God has already given the cure and will NOT do more than that for man.

The world is already on the brink of being destroyed and God’s vision is not to save the planet but to save the souls of every man living on this world. God is not accountable to man and yet He has been so good to come into the messy world to save souls from eternal destruction. Is not God good enough?

Jesus said: “No one is good–except God alone.” Luke 18:19

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” John 3:16-18

Posted May 3, 2020 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Where am I heading to?   Leave a comment

Time

Sometimes, we can be so absorbed in our work and daily activities that we simply do not take the time to question whether we’re properly using our hours, days, months and years. Simply stopping and asking ourselves this question “Am I doing the right thing? Where am I heading?” may spare us much trouble. We can be frustrated if we have lost an hour or two in a traffic jam or in a queue.  We can even be more annoyed for having lost a day figuring out a solution to a problem when there was a simple trick. If you have worked on a project for months and invested much energy, time and money and at the end all your sacrifices became useless due to an unexpected event then there’s much probability that you’ll end up irritated because of that situation.

If you have been working for a company for decades or have been in a relationship for years and suddenly this comes to an end without you having the possibility to remediate then you’ll be deeply affected and reckon sadly about all the wasted years. You know pretty well now when you have headed in the wrong directions and what you should have done. Sadly wisdom often comes only after we have experience life. Let us not let this perpetuate in our life, let us stop now and seek for wisdom before making another pace.

If only we knew the future outcomes in all the above circumstances then maybe we would have taken another road, not embark in a project or invest our time, emotions and energy in a particular job/relationship. But the thing is that no one knows.

Now imagine that it’s not just hours, days, months or years you’re losing but your lifetime! That would be the most tragic event and the bible describes those people as being deeply tormented by that situation such that they will eternally be “weeping and gnashing their teeth” Mat. 13:42. Wisdom calls out today to get right with God before it is too late. This is what the bible says about Jesus:

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” Heb. 3:15

If there’s one thing we can be sure about, it’s death. We’ll all die one day. You may not know whether, how  or when a relationship, job or a project may fail but one thing you can be sure about is that one day you’ll die. If you have failed in many things in your life, it’s nothing in comparison in failing to live eternally with God. You’ve probably wasted hours, days, months and years but do not waste your life.

Where are you heading?

Posted April 26, 2020 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Temptation [Part 1]   Leave a comment

W

Jesus in the wilderness

In the fourth chapter of Matthew we read that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.

The Holy Spirit’s will was that the man Jesus be placed in a condition where the pressure of temptation would be at its peak. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews said:

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.”

It is noteworthy to say that we can be tempted to do evil in 2 ways:

  1. The temptation comes from a desire within our flesh (James 1:4)

The first source of temptation is the most common. It comes from our own desires(impulse) and we cannot blame the devil for that. The devil is not omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent and is therefore unable to tempt people around the world at the same time. Though he has agents and evil spirits working for him, he is unable to read our minds or force people to do evil (unless possessed by an evil spirit). It is therefore important to watch that we’re not placing ourselves in an environment where we’ll feed the carnal desires. If you starve a race horse champion for a week, it is very likely that the same horse will not be able to compete in any race. So is our flesh and mind, unless it is fueled it remains powerless to do evil.

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away (James 1).

This is why Paul said:

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. ” Col. 3:5

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.  The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desiresThose who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there” Gal. 5:16-24

Finding pleasure in eating, dressing or having sexual relations (with your spouse) is not evil. The bible considers it a blessing that someone is able to enjoy the companionship of his/her spouse or the work of his labour by eating. It is only when these pleasures offend God, people and ourselves that these are considered evil. God gave us a stomach and a mouth to eat but gluttony is sinful. If you’re using the body God gave you to perform excessive actions, you’re sinning. When someone loses control on how much alcohol he is drinking or how much food he is eating, then he has become enslaved by his own desires. Envy is a sin and needs to be dealt with promptly.

  2. The temptation comes from the devil

The other source of temptation comes directly from the devil. This is the most difficult testing a man can endure and this is what actually happened to Jesus. Moses and Elijah also fasted for 40 days but there was no record that the devil tempted them. When Jesus’ 40 days was over, the devil came when his body was impatiently asking for food and this discomfort could caused much irritability.

I believe the tempter used its 3 most powerful tool in his attempt to make Jesus succumb to his will. The devil would not have tried if he did not believe in the efficiency of these tools.

This is why Jesus taught his disciples to pray : “let us yield to temptation,but rescue us from the evil one”

For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.

Let us look at one of these tool the devil used.

Many tragedies occurred because of food. People lost their lives because they have been attacked by hungry people. Esau sold his birthright for a meal.

Both Esau and Jesus were very hungry and experienced the wilderness conditions but the difference was that Esau was no longer in the wilderness (he came from hunting) and could get food but Jesus was still in the wilderness, was fasting and could not get food anyway.

Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry.  Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew! Look, I’m dying of starvation! said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?

Jesus did not trade his birth right as Son of God(Heb. 1:6) for a piece of bread.

Jesus was in the wilderness for spiritual reasons (led by the Spirit) but Esau was in the wilderness because he was a hunter. Jesus could be tempted to say “God will understand if I just change that stone into a bread“. Jesus was therefore both pressured by his flesh and the devil.

Jesus said that there’re different kinds of evil spirit that can be cast out only by prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29) and because of this statement I strongly believe that fasting is directly related to the spiritual world. Depriving the flesh of its basic need which is food (fasting) and accompanying it with prayers present a soul to God that wants to be heard. People still fast nowadays for government to hear them. Many times people fast because they have some personal problems. but rarely one would fast for others. Jesus went to the wilderness to obtain a victory for us through fasting and enduring patiently temptation (Heb. 4:15) that exceeds the very act of casting out demons.

The first victory Jesus demonstrated was: People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Moses and Elijah could not change stones to bread but Jesus could. The temptation was either to wait patiently when God will provide or act impulsively and satisfy immediately the desires of the flesh.

If you have all the food of the world that can satisfy your flesh but the word of God does not dwell in you, your soul is starving and dying. However, if your soul is well fed you will have the faith that God will provide for your needs. God sent angels to feed Jesus and so did he when he sent ravens in the wilderness to feed Elijah. The widow of Zarephath experienced the reality of God’s provisions when she gave the little food she had left (for her and her son) to Elijah and was abundantly blessed because of her actions (1 Kings 17:7-16). Preferring to starve to death do the will of God instead of satisfying the flesh has always been rewarding.

None of us has reach a point where we have been tempted in such a way to sin that it is a matter of life and death.

After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin” Hebrews 12:1

Paul said: “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

This is a strong lesson taught to us by Jesus and the widow of Zarephath for which it was a matter of obeying God or satisfying the desires of the flesh. If you’re tempted to choose between satisfying the desires of the flesh under strong pressure and obeying God. What would you do?

Posted April 12, 2020 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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God is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46)   Leave a comment

Ps 46

                              Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!” Ps. 46:1

 

God is our refuge and strength.

With the spread of the Covid-19, much uncertainties have taken place regarding job and health security. Rich and poor have not been spared by this pandemic. People are worried, stressed and anxious about what may happen. “What are we going to eat, who will take care of our children, what will happen to my job and investments?

Jesus said:

So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Mat 6:32-34

This calamity is again reminding the human race that they are just feeble creatures before microscopic viruses.

For many government officials, they feel secure that they will not lose their jobs. Their job is their fortress.

For the rich, they feel strong because they believe they have sufficient money to get them out of trouble in case of urgencies. If you consider your job and money as solid as a mountain, many will tell you that they experienced the reality that these are deceptions.

Though our possessions and job may be solidly grounded like a mountain, the bible reminds us that even mountains crack and crumble into the sea by earthquakes. Remember that no matter how solid that mountain can be, it rests on foundation which is earth. If that earth beneath that mountain can no longer sustain it, it will crumble as if it was on shifting sand.

This raises another question: Is there anything on this earth which we can be sure cannot fail us?

No matter how faithful a spouse can be, there’s still a possibility for him/her to fail us.

Science itself is limited to find a solution to HIV or the world’s problem.

If people and science have limits, what on earth can you have faith in without any ounce of risk?

The Psalmist sings joyfully that God alone is that fortress, a stronghold never failing. “Flee to the mountains and find refuge in your money and job, I will not be dismayed. I will remain calm and trust in God’s protection.

There will be a time where people and science will let you down and will not be able to help you in times of trouble. The Psalmist tells us that God is immediately or “always ready to help in times of trouble“. The world is in turmoil, everyone is busy with his/her own problems. Where are you going to run amidst such turbulences?

The Psalmist had such a conviction and faith that he challenged calamities by boasting in God. He said:

“Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge”, I will not recant when the earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. The media, relatives and friends may make so much noise to disturb your faith in God, but do not be dismayed. No matter how logical and factual their arguments can be, if their fortresses are not founded on Christ the solid rock, do not be troubled by these voices. 

Be sure you’re under God’s protection during calamities.

The nations are in chaos,and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders,and the earth melts!“v6

God’s glory will be found throughout calamities and He calls those who have faith in Him to be quiet, be serene and at peace. Do not be distressed.

Be still, and know that I am God!I will be honored by every nation.I will be honored throughout the world.”

Posted March 24, 2020 by Cedric in Thought-provoking

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Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [Part 4]?   Leave a comment

Spirit

Before Jesus ascended, He told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem:

Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4

The day of Pentecost(Harvest Festival) was approaching and Jesus commanded His disciples to wait as He was planning something special on that day. If Jesus did not told them to wait, maybe they would have gone around telling people that Jesus rose again and that they had just had supper with Him. After all, they have been trained for 3 years under His ministry and were well acquainted with His teachings and why could not they start preaching?

Well, waiting for the day of Pentecost now looks evident but if the disciples did not listen they would not have had that boldness brought by Holy Spirit and would have preached out of experience, the flesh and intellect. The day of Pentecost was a special day since many people from various regions came to Jerusalem for that feast and it was the opportunity for God to reveal Himself to them in their own language. The disciples spoke in unknown languages that day and the people said:

Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs.And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!” They stood there amazed and perplexed.” Acts 2:11

On that day 3000 people believed and were baptized – incidentally a great harvest on the Harvest Festival. I believe that out of these 3000, there was at least a representative of all these nations who spoke in other tongues. Now see how quickly the gospel would spread itself!

The Holy Spirit intentionally gave the gift of tongues on that day to cause a massive movement and conversion.

Whether we minister in prayer meetings, in preaching, evangelism, worship or participate in any form of spiritual matter, if this is not done through inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit, it is surely done either by our carnal nature or skills.

The Pharisees are examples of religious people who stuck to the letter or law rather than the spirit behind the scripture. They were not guided by the Holy Spirit in their actions. Out of their zeal, they were quick to judge the disciples of Jesus who broke crops on the Sabbath day and ready to fire the first stone on the adulterous woman. There is no doubt that these people were well versed in the scripture, intellectuals and had some form of wisdom (be it not divine). In their wisdom, their discerned that Jesus (the Holy One of heaven) was possessed by an evil spirit or mad (John 8:48, John 10:20). They also wanted to kill Jesus and were finally able to do so at God’s appointed time. If religious leaders at that time failed to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah despite all their scriptural knowledge, how can we expect that it is better today?

Our churches are packed with the same spirit of the pharisees or admirers of them. We are warned about such people (Col. 2:8) who are amidst us. They may use philosophy,some sort of wisdom or try to impress us by their mastery of Hebrews or Greek. They may have a doctorate in divinity or be eloquent but they minister WITHOUT the presence of the Holy Spirit. This is very alarming and at the same time this explains why many churches are dead even though packed with so many intellectuals. When the Holy Spirit was leading Paul, He not only guided Him where to preach but also forbidden him to preach in some places.

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.” Acts 16:6

I would like to emphasize on that situation because firstly Paul was commissioned by God to go and preach everywhere, secondly he was an apostle and thirdly he knew the Gospel and was well equipped to preach. All these 3 elements were not sufficient for him to open his mouth and preach where he wanted. The lesson we can draw here is :

  1. Even though we have been called to go everywhere to preach the gospel, we should do so ONLY if accompanied by the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, there could be a chaotic situation, even death. Going on the mission field without the approval and presence of the Holy Spirit is not only a waste of time and resources but an act of disobedience.
  2. Being an apostle, pastor or teacher does not give us a license to say whatever we want. We should preach ONLY when under the influence of the Holy Spirit otherwise, the listeners or readers will be influenced by our spirit or reasoning instead of the Holy Spirit. When you do not feel led by the Spirit to speak, it’s time to sit down and listen to Him. God does not expect you to speak each Sunday because you’re a preacher or pastor.
  3. Our knowledge of the Gospel or scripture does not automatically qualify us to go and preach, ONLY the Holy Spirit does. For it is only the Holy Spirit who convicts hearts of sins (John 26:8), not us. Some of us plant and others water but it is God who makes the seed grow (1 Cor 3:6). Think about it. No matter how much you sow or water that seed, there can be no rejoicing unless that seed germinates. The One who makes that seed sprout or take life is the Holy Spirit and without Him in vain you toil.

Being led by the Holy Spirit, in everything we do, is essential for the church’s health and our growth. We could think that it was the jealousy of the Pharisees which blinded them but what about Judas? Judas sat at Jesus’ table, was part of his close circle, heard things none of us heard and saw many miracles but yet Jesus was just a rabbi not his Lord (Mat. 26). Without the quickening of the Holy Spirit, the things of God remain veil to us.

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments” 1 Cor. 2:13-15

 

Posted November 3, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [Part 3]?   Leave a comment

Spirit

There was an atmosphere of celebration when the ark of the covenant was brought back to Jerusalem through David. Suddenly this rejoicing vanished and set place for fear when Uzzah reached out his hand to hold the ark which was about to fall. God’s in his anger struck Uzzah down as he was not a Levite. David was unhappy with that severe action God took and wanted the ark to be away from him.

David was afraid of the Lord that day and said, “How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?He was not willing to take the ark of the Lord to be with him in the City of David” 2 Sam. 2:9

Later on David said:

He said to them, “You are the leaders of the Levite families. You must purify yourselves and all your fellow Levites, so you can bring the Ark of the LORD, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the LORD our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly.”  1 Chr. 15:12

God’s presence is synonym to holiness and since no man is sinless, it is a great fear and dilemma for man to dare coming close to God. For this reason, God through the blood of Jesus made us a kingdom of priests (Rev 1:6) and rendered us qualified like the Levites to minister in His presence.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God,  let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:20

God’s invitation for Jesus’s disciples to enter the Most Holy Place is real and He also made it possible to render our body itself a temple where His Holy Spirit can reside and bring worship and praises from within us. Whether it be the Levites or ourselves, one common prerequisite is to go through a purification process before daring to minister in His presence. Standing in God’s presence without this purification is a fearful expectation of death.

Ananias and Sapphira are examples of disciples who died because they lied to the Holy Spirit. Peter did not say that they lied to Jesus(though it’s implicit), but said to the Holy Spirit. This couple saw many people giving and they probably concocted to imitate the same behavior to earn praises through deceit (false declaration of sales). This was a matter of fraud/trickery in God’s eyes.  This is very indicative as the One who was ministering and was offended was precisely the Holy Spirit who nothing is hidden to Him. When God struck to death this couple, this demonstrated how He felt about it. Now if we do not see God massively dealing in the same way in churches, that does not mean God feels better about it.   Elsewhere Paul also mentioned that some have died and many were sick because they were not right with God. In the old testament many man of God were commended for their ‘fear of God’.  Is there still this fear of God or a fearless/rebellious attitude of the consequences of our acts ? Having the fear of God is a sort or worship since we realize His presence and holiness. Being under grace should not be an excuse to sin (Rom. 3:8) or cause us to be fearless of our acts. On the contrary, we’ll be judged more severely.

They rush to commit murder.  Destruction and misery always follow them.They don’t know where to find peace.”They have no fear of God at all” Rom. 3:18

I have a message from God in my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before their eyes” Ps 36:1

That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died. ” 1 Cor. 11:30

Jesus said that where two or three gather together in His name, He is among them. Now if we believe this is true, then we should be careful that when we gather together, we do so with a right heart lest we found ourselves in the same situation as Ananias and Sapphira.  Now if we gather together with a filthy heart, participate in the Lord’s supper and have a fraudulent heart and no discipline result from God  we must question whether we have really gathered as disciples in His name or for other motives.

If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all” ( Heb. 12:8)

For ONLY if we gather in His name that He promised to be there. If Jesus is not present when you gather for worship, flee from that place lest you be found participating in a cult given to Satan. How do you know whether God’s presence is there? See whether Christlikeness (2 Cor. 3:18) is found in those praying and worshiping God. Look at the fruit of the Spirit, if there’re no fruits then there’re no marks of His presence.

This said, God’s presence should be considered with much reverence and we should be careful how we treat each other as we’re an habitation of the Holy Spirit.

We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.” Eph. 2:21

There’re thousands of physical churches on earth but there’s only one Church – one bride. Similarly, if we consider that there’re millions of disciples of Jesus then there’re millions of temples where the Holy Spirit dwells. However, all these millions of temples form part of the same divine temple. This is how we’re in Christ and Christ in us.

Have you ever come close to someone possessed by an evil spirit? This can be a shivering situation. If being inhabited by an evil spirit causes people to be afraid imagine what effect this had when disciples of Jesus are filled by the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit!

No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people” Acts 5:13

Posted October 13, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [Part 2]?   Leave a comment

Spirit

If you know that you’re the temple of the Spirit then take heed that this holy habitation is not defiled. If you did not realize or forgot that you are the temple of the Spirit , today is the day to get out of laxity, ignorance and be diligent.

As a born again Christian it is vital to realize that God’s remaining work on earth has been entrusted to the Holy Spirit . Since the fall of man, Jesus was the long promised Messiah entrusted to bring salvation. Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He then entrusted the Holy Spirit to continue His work on earth:

But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you ” John 16:7

The Holy Spirit would not dwell in the heart of man and begin His mighty work until Jesus ascended. “It is best that I go away, it is for your benefit, it is for your advantage that I go away” Jesus said. God’s salvation plan has been fulfilled through the coming, death and resurrection of Jesus. Sin has lost its power and man has been reconciled with the Holy God of heaven by Jesus’ sacrifice. Jesus has set up the foundation i.e. the doctrines of faith in Him for salvation and then gave His orders/instructions/commandments to the Holy Spirit to remind his apostles and future generations about His work and doctrines.

until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.” Acts 1:2

Jesus clearly said that the main activities of the Holy Spirit would be to teach the disciples all what they need to know and remind them what has already been said. This is important since Jesus himself said that He could not deliver much of His teachings since the disciples were not yet ready to receive it all.

I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth” John 16:12

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” John 14:26

God has promised the Messiah to bring salvation and this came to be. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit and this also has been fulfilled (Joel 2:28-30, Acts 2:1-3). The Spirit given, the scripture cannot do any more for us except to remind that the Son of God will come again to rise His saints from the dead, establish His Kingdom and Judge the world.

We are living in this time where the Spirit has been generously outpoured, something which the prophets in the old testament desired to see.  Are we living this life in the Spirit or just merrily walking where this life brings? Being now a kingdom of priest and the temple of the Holy Spirit, we simply cannot be the same or living like the ordinary mortal man. Everything being practiced by Christians be it evangelism, teachings, worship, discipleship, intercession, healing or prayers if not done solely by the power of the Spirit is nothing but an act of the flesh, a formality, an event,  intellectualism, entertainment, pride or a diabolical undertaking.

Posted October 12, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [Part 1]?   Leave a comment

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself” 1 Cor. 6:19

 

  • The Scripture is inspired by the Spirit

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

The Spirit does not contradict the scripture and the scripture does not contradict what the Spirit says since the scripture is inspired by Him. The prophesies made through Isaiah or David have meticulously been fulfilled because these men wrote inspired by the Spirit (Acts 1:16).  When we fail to understand the Scripture, the first step is to ask the Author (The Holy Spirit) what He intended. I would like to emphasize of that first step since many Christians turn to books or commentaries to understand the scripture. Don’t they know that the Spirit of God lives in them? 

When you read the scripture, ensure that you’re not just reading letters and phrases. Many Christians were defeated, confused or took wrong decisions because they misinterpreted the Word of God. On the other hand, I met Christians who have mistaken their feelings, circumstances, dreams or emotions as being a call from the Spirit but if they read God’s Word they would have been spared of much trouble.

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you meditate and get the most of the scripture and when you have receive clear instructions and directives from Him, go ahead keeping faith in what God’s Word said – do not turn back. Otherwise, do not go ahead unless there’s harmony with what you’ve read and what you feel the Spirit is calling you to do.

I would like to call on this promise of Jesus:

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26

I have nothing against commentaries, I have myself quite a few of them and use them but it’s important of not letting ourselves influenced or consider as truth what the commentary said.

Many theologians interpreted the scripture in opposing directions and I wondered how such a thing is possible since the Spirit had only one intended meaning.   For instance Calvinism has an opposing doctrine – Arminianism. Churches exist that have as core belief these 2 doctrines. These doctrines entirely contradict each other and at the same time claim to have scriptural evidence to support their say.  There can be only 2 possibilities:

  1. Both are wrong
  2. One is diabolical and the other right

It is not possible that both are right or have a mixture of each other as this would make the Spirit contradict itself. The Spirit intended ONLY ONE teaching and it is essential to ask the divine Teacher sent by Jesus to guide us into the whole truth.

I came to the conclusion that many doctrines have been formulated and Christians books written without communicating what the Spirit actually intended to say in the bible. Doctrines are written as laws voted in parliament and Christians books are written as the best seller Harry Potter. Many false doctrines, what we call heresies, have no ounce of inspiration from the Spirit.  These heresies have intellectuals (false teachers) who formulated them and it would be useful for the adherents to question whether the author of that doctrine lived as someone filled by the Spirit and demonstrated the fruit of the Spirit.

  • The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts as He wants

All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” 1 Cor. 12:11

Paul wrote this chapter 12 of Corinthians for this reason:

Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed

Paul inspired by the Spirit wanted to inform the ignorant about the Spiritual gifts and also correct those who thought they got it right.

Whether you’re from a Charismatic/Pentecostal, Baptist/Evangelical/other background, there’re much to learn from this chapter. Unfortunately, it is a sad truth that churches disagree on its fundamentals. On one hand there’s much abuse or fake manifestations and on the other side there’s a quenching of the Spirit. In either case, Satan wins since the Spirit is unable to work as He intends.

I would like to reiterate the above conclusions:

There can be only 2 possibilities:

  1. Both are wrong
  2. One is diabolical and the other right

It is not possible that both are right or have a mixture of each other as this would make the Spirit contradict itself. The Spirit intended ONLY ONE teaching and it is essential to ask the divine Teacher sent by Jesus to guide us into the whole truth.

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit? If you realize that you’re the temple of the Spirit, how much do you let the Spirit influence you ?

The Authenticity of our faith   Leave a comment

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;  not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;” Rom. 12:9

My father often told me “There’re 2 kinds of people you should never give a job to do : Christians and relatives“. My father said that not because he was not a Christian and did not like his relatives but because he had bad experiences with those persons who should have been trustworthy. For the sake of keeping a good relationship with his relatives and for love sake, he refrained to express his frustration towards them. So he warned his children to beware of giving jobs to relatives and Christians. He even started to point out the danger of dating some so-called Christians. Did you ever have a similar experience?

I’m particularly interested with my dad’s statement concerning Christians because trickery, ruse, hypocrisy, dishonesty and avarice should not be found in Christians. The name of the Lord is slandered among non-Christians because of such behavior.

Paul warned the Thessalonians :

and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister.The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.” 1 Thes. 4:6

Living wisely according to James is:

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. ” James 3:17

In His 3 years of ministry on earth, Jesus had a loaded agenda to preach the Good News, heal the sick and prepare His disciples. Another item He had on His agenda was to reveal the hypocrisy of religious people, the Pharisees. For decades the Lord of heaven has seen how those religious leaders burdened his sheep and abused them and when Jesus came to earth He expressed the anger of God kept all these times for that moment. Jesus has been preaching about love and been doing good all around Him but as what concerns the religious leaders, He did not use velvet gloves but was particularly hard towards them.

Matthew recorded a whole Chapter (Mat 23) of what Jesus said about those fake spiritual leaders.  All throughout His ministry, the Pharisees tried to trick Him (Luke 20:23) and Jesus rebuked them publicly.

It is important for Christians to be genuine.

As per the secular definition of hypocrisy: “it is the practice of claiming to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case

It is play acting or pretending someone you’re not. Jesus said “Everything they do is for show” Mat. 23:5

God sees us through and knows whether we are genuine in our faith or just behave like the Pharisees. If at work we pretend to be saints and tell our colleagues the right thing to do but in secret we do the very thing that we said is wrong, then we’re acting like an hypocrite and condemning ourselves. If we set some standards and judge others by them, we’ll also be judged accordingly.

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others.The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?  How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Mat. 7:1-5

Pretending to be humble, abstaining from pleasures/fasting/praying/giving to the needy for people to see is something God abhors.  Using ruse or trickery for self gratification is an attitude that is not Christ-like.

Are you authentic in the way you are with your spouse/friends/colleagues/neighbors/relatives? Does your closest relative think you’re the same person at church and at home?

Is your ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ an absolute truth or is it a lie?

Jesus said: “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

0 or 1 is used in computing to take decisions, it can either be yes or no and in an absolute sense computers will never be able to understand anything else (even in AI) . There’s no existence of fractions between 0 and 1 in computing.

Computers cannot take decisions on ‘Maybe’. Computers do not know anything between ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Saying ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ in the same circumstance are double behaviors.  If you want to play double with a computer and say ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, it will tell you it’s False. The computer will say True only if you always say ‘Yes’ or always say ‘No’. Christians cannot have double behaviors but should have one behavior no matter the circumstance – integrity (being one). This is particularly a challenge for me because I have failed many times by playing double with God and people.

Here’s a D- test which identifies hypocrisy:

Duplicity, Double talk, Deceit, Dishonesty, Double dealing.

Posted August 24, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Legalism and Justice [Part 3]   Leave a comment

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In Part 1 and Part 2 of “Legalism and Justice”, we’ve seen what are some forms of legalism and what are the characteristics of the legalists. We’ve also read how harshly Jesus dealt with the legalists(Pharisees) and how Jesus used scripture to correct the wrong interpretation of verses used to support legalism. The devil has been twisting the scripture in an attempt to make Jesus fall (Mat 4) and this is what he still does through the legalists. We may discern forms of legalism when the motives behind the teachings are not Love, Mercy, Faithfulness and Justice. Discipline in the church is not a form of legalism when love is the motive.  God Himself discipline the one he loves (Heb. 12:10). However, when love is not the motive behind discipline then we may find ourselves participating in ‘stoning the adulterous woman’.

As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?..They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” John 8:3-9

It would be unfair to the victim of the adultery(the spouse) not to receive justice. If this case was brought in our modern court with Moses law to be applied and you were to judge, what would you do?

The Greek words used in this phrase suggest the following interpretation  “Let the one among you who has never sinned similarly throw the first stone!

I would prefer not to participate in the judgment of a case in which I had myself made a similar offense. If I condemn others of an offense that I did myself but no one caught me yet, then I’m condemning myself along and acting like an hypocrite. If we consider for instance Jesus’ teachings about lust and adultery very few religious people would find themselves eligible to pass on a judgment. I spoke several times badly of liars without realizing that I have in the past lied.

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Mat. 5:28

What did Jesus say about judging others?

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.  For you will be treated as you treat others.The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Mat. 7

Jesus in this verse is warning against judging others. It is not prohibited to judge others but it holds great responsibility. It is sinners like us who pronounce judgments in courts. Court judges simply apply what the law of the country say and they are themselves subject to be judged by others should they commit a similar offense. No one is above the law. If holiness was the prerequisite to judge, then the notorious criminals, drug traffickers and murderers would not be put to jail. The statement let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone” is a great reminder that the Holy One of heaven is looking down on us and that our judgement is not flawless since we’re ourselves sinners and thus offenders of that same system in a way or another.

Jesus made a call to the guilty conscience  of the Pharisees and this made all of them uneasy since it appears that all those people who brought this woman were not beyond reproach. The oldest left first as he probably was the greatest offender.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest” John 8:9

I guess that if there was indeed a man among the mob who never committed adultery, then he would be right to execute the stoning but there was none left! How hypocrite can religious people be! Only Jesus was left with that woman for only Him never committed such sin and only him could stone that woman. Remember that each time you judge someone, God is watching.

The world dictionary defines hypocrisy as “the sin of pretending to virtue or goodness“. It is pretending to be someone you’re not or having some qualities what you do not have. It is imitating like an actor whose virtue and goodness are seen only on stage but behind stage – at home he is a vilain. Hypocrisy consists of deceit, dissimulation and above all it is the absence of integrity for integrity means being one (in Mathematics integer), consistent and coherent.  So this was how Jesus qualified the Pharisees. In the scene of the adulterous woman, He unmasked their role and hypocrisy.

 Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”“No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

The accusers now dispersed, Jesus now recommends the woman to leave behind this sinful life and live in the righteous path.

 

Posted March 26, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Legalism and Justice [Part 2]   Leave a comment

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They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them..” Matthew 23

Hypocrisy is usually a character of the legalist. At some point the legalist will tell to people what they should do but they themselves might not be doing what they say.  Severe to others but indulgent to themselves. They have a false humility i.e. they make as if they do not seek for glory, leadership position or privileges when this is what they are actually seeking. They may be soft spoken persons but in the inside they are wolves in sheep clothing. Their soft tone, humble way of clothing themselves or even the way they walk are deceits. This was how Jesus described the Pharisees who wore wide boxes (phylacteries) on their arms or forehead. These boxes contain scriptures and making them wide was probably a demonstration that they were well versed in the scripture. Boasting about one’s knowledge of the Scripture or the law is another characteristic of the legalists.  They loved to be greeted with respect when they walked in public places(market place) Jesus said. In other words, they sought for recognition. They might also feel insecure if someone aims to learn more about the law/scripture or wish to enter God’s kingdom without going through them.

This is what Jesus said about this: “You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to

They want to be those who guide people to heaven but Jesus called them blind guides. In other words they want to be a mediator between God and man but there is only one Mediator – Jesus. This is why Jesus said never to call a man rabbi or father for there is only one Teacher – Jesus and only one Father – God.

This is a gross mistake of the catholic priests who take the name of ‘father’. The pope for instance is a modern time Pharisee according to this verse and also do all his adherents/followers. Is it on same ground of super spirituality that the catholic priests are not allowed to marry(Peter was married) – for fear of being defiled with sexuality ? The leader among the disciples, Peter was married(1 Cor . 9:5) and it’s hard to understand how the Vatican came with this ascetic doctrine of forbidding man to marry – which has caused so many of them to become pedophile or rapists. These priests probably taught about holiness but they themselves lived in immorality. Asceticism is therefore another characteristic of the religious legalists.

Since the legalists think that they have the key to the knowledge of God or are an authority to God’s affairs, they allow themselves to add or remove to scripture. This is why many false doctrines emerged. For instance, the Pharisees twisted the scripture when they said: ” ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’”. To this teaching Jesus pointed out that their reasoning did not make sense.

As regards tithe, the Pharisees took it so seriously that they even gave a tenth of their spices—mint, dill and cumin. To this Jesus responded “you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness“.

One can be so absorbed in practicing the law that he forgets that the spirit behind the law is justice, mercy and faithfulness.

Tradition in the church is one of the common source of arguments. Traditions are man-made and many leaders consider them as similar to God’s Word. For instance, celebrating Christmas, Easter, Mother’s day are not commands in the bible but are traditions brought in the church. For the Pharisees, it was a tradition that hands should be washed before eating. Of course this is a healthy thing to do. There’s nothing wrong to wash our hands before eating or celebrating mother’s day to honor our mother or Easter/Christmas to remember Jesus’ coming, death and Resurrection. However, eating without washing one’s hands makes someone prone to diseases but not a sinner. Not celebrating Christmas, Easter or Mother’s day does not make one a sinner. This is what the Pharisees said:

Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” 

Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’[and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’  they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition” Mat. 15:2

Once again Jesus showed the Pharisees that their teachings were contradictory. The Pharisees probably taught that one should honor his father and mother and failing to do so was such a gross sin that it was subject to death penalty. However, the Pharisees in their hypocrisy reasoned that since they have already spared aside some gifts/money to God then they are unable to use that gift to help their needy parents. They considered that this gift set aside were already reserved/devoted for God and was therefore not right to use it otherwise. In modern time, this might also do to our commitments. For instance, if we reason that we have already committed ourselves to give 6 months of our time in mission and have to leave behind our sick and needy parents then we’re behaving like the pharisees. God does not need our money or sacrifice. Obedience, love, justice are better than sacrifice. Be careful in the way you deal with money in church affairs. If you feel confused in how to spend your time, money or resources in spiritual matters, think about the spirit behind the law: Love, justice, faithfulness and mercy.  What would Jesus do?

 

 

 

 

 

Posted March 22, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Legalism and Justice [Part 1]   Leave a comment

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Then Jesus went over to their synagogue, where he noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?” (They were hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.)And he answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.” Mat. 12:9-12

During the 3 years of ministry of Jesus, the people who considered themselves as teachers of God’s law challenged Jesus with many tricky questions in order to bring charges against Him. Even if the arguments brought by these Pharisees/teachers of the law were not held in court, they were sufficient to set a trap Jesus.

At many instances Jesus warned the people and his disciples against the fake righteousness of the Pharisees and drew a line between legalism and justice. Love was the chalk Jesus used to draw this line.  The spirit behind the law was to love people and love God until Jesus came. The first 4 commandments concerned our love, respect and devotion towards God and the remaining 6 had to do with respect and love of our family and neighbor. Paul described the law as:

Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. …. If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. .. Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed….Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.” Gal. 3:24-29

To put it imply, Paul said:

For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.”These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.” Rom. 13:9-10

It is true that the Mosaic law required that the Israelites shall consider the seventh day a special day and not work on it (Ex. 33:2). That command was so important that if one disobeyed it, death was the penalty. The Pharisees considered that Jesus was working when He healed people so they asked whether it was right to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus is the one who inspired the prophets to write the law and He explained the intent behind the law. Being also a divine Advocate, Jesus replied the Pharisees brilliantly.  It was common sense that a Jew would save his sheep if one fell into a well. What if that incident happened on the Sabbath day? Would you be so hard hearted that you would just watch that sheep drown without moving a finger for fear of doing work? In the book of Deuteronomy we read:

If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility.Take it back to its owner. If its owner does not live nearby or you don’t know who the owner is, take it to your place and keep it until the owner comes looking for it. Then you must return it. ” Deut. 22

What if the neighbor’s ox erred on a Sabbath day? That would put the legalist in a great dilemma! Would that be a conflict in the law? For love sake and pity, be careful of never allowing yourself reasoning like a legalist. For those who understand that the spirit behind the law of keeping your neighbor’s goat from wandering is love, it will not be difficult for him to make the right decision if the neighbor’s goat erred on the Sabbath. David’s companions were hungry and for love sake and compassion David broke the law when they entered the house of God and ate the reserved sacred bread (Mat. 12:4). In the worldly court, David would have been condemned but in the divine court, David was not found guilty.

In Numbers 28:9, the priests did not feel guilty of breaking the fourth commandment when they had to work on the Sabbath. If it ever happens that you find a conflict in God’s word, think about the love spirit behind God’s word. There will always be some Pharisees throwing some bible verses to condemn you or others but think about this: “What would Jesus do?”

Here is an example: Jesus’ disciples were hungry and the Pharisees brought charges against them saying they were harvesting/working on the Sabbath. Jesus did not rebuke His disciples but rather justified them through scripture.

But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.

Posted March 9, 2019 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Narrow is the gate and narrow is the road   Leave a comment

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 You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.  But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

While I was meditating on this verse, I wondered why Jesus wanted to put emphasis on the narrowness of the gate and the narrowness of the road that leads to God’s Kingdom. Sure enough, these verses are not saying that God is playing hide and seek where only a few elite explorers can find Him. This is a verse about faith and perseverance. While reading this verse, I remembered an experience I had in France. I had to be there 2 weeks for work and on the day I landed I thought it would be good if I could spot the workplace on the eve since I had to be there early the next morning. So I googled the workplace and walked in the directions indicated. I managed to get on the road that led to the workplace but the building numbers were not easily identifiable. I asked people if they could help me identify that workplace but they either did not know or misled me. I soon realized that the building numbers followed an odd numbering pattern and this is why I could not sequentially identify that building. Finally, I found it and realized that I walked passed that gate several times. This was a big company and I wondered why there were no big signs or clear indications. How come people did not know it was there? That gate was not huge and the road I walked through was not as wide as the Champ Elysées but a narrow one way road. I understood later on that this building was rented by that huge company and it was not their headquarters.

To get back to our verse, people unconsciously expect that the gate that leads to God’s Kingdom would be attractive like the pearly gates or the golden road as described in the book of Revelation 21. However, this is not the case. Jesus said He is the only Way (John 14:6) to Heaven and the sheep’s gate (John 10:7). For many people, it just does not make sense that Jesus is the only door to Heaven or the only way to be saved.

“How can a crucified Messiah be the Savior of the world? Jesus claimed to be God, how could He die on a cross? Can anything good come from Nazareth (John 1:48)? “These are some logical reasoning that blur people’s vision on how to get to heaven.

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! …But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense” 1 Cor 1:18-24

Google Map showed me where my workplace was but my logical reasoning and people misled me. The bigger the idol or bigger the worship place and the more people think God’s presence is there.  Man’s wisdom and intelligence is often incompatible with God’s and this is why few ever find the Kingdom and ever pass through its door. It’s only through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice that we can enter God’s Kingdom!

On one side, there is a highway that gives a pleasure ride to hell. It’s an easy path and the gate to its destination is so well crafted and designed that one might be knocking at the gate of hell thinking he has finally reached nirvana or the reward of good karma. Since millions of people take that easy and broad road, many convince themselves with this argumentum ad populum, that they must surely be right. It’s a deceitful religious belief that doing good works will result in good karma – this is man’s invention to have a clear conscience. It makes man self-centered instead of God-centered.

The road is very narrow and difficult Jesus said. Believing in Jesus is taking the right way to God’s Kingdom however many give up before reaching their destination because the road is no longer convenient to them. They are like the soil who received the Good News but on the way gave up, lost focus or no longer considered the Sheep’s gate attractive. “Many people are taking the easy way, why should I abstain“, they ask?

The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. ” Mat. 13:20-22

Christians should be careful that they do not let themselves entangled by the things of this world, social status or the lure of wealth for these are deceitful roads.

Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.  And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor.” 2 Tim. 2:3

Jesus would not have said that the road and the gate were narrow if it was not true. Are you on such a road and heading towards such a gate?

Understanding the width, length, depth and height of the Love of God   Leave a comment

Eph3

that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Eph. 3:17-19

Rooted and founded in love

Paul used the words ‘rooted’ and ‘grounded’ probably to illustrate 2 concepts.

  1. Plants which are deeply rooted in the soil get the appropriate nutrients, grow and blossom. This is the same when one is rooted in God’s love – that person grows,emancipates, is fulfilled and satisfied.
  2. A house that has a firm foundation will also remain strong and stable even during calamities such as hurricanes or floods. So is the one who has as foundation God’s love – Christ. Even during tough times, Christ’s love keeps that person serene, stable and strong. The Greek word used here for ‘Love’ is of course Agape love – God’s love. This alone can fulfill the soul of man. God is love and He created man to love and experience love. One not rooted in God’s love will tend to draw its roots towards other kinds of love such as Eros(Marital), Phileo(Friendship) or some unhealthy sources affections to fuel the soul. These kinds of love are incompatible with what the soul seeks. A spouse will never be able to fulfill the soul of his partner with ‘Eros love’, nor will friends with ‘Phileo’ love , nor relatives with ‘Storge’ love and never will the pleasures of this world. It is a gross mistake to believe that if you lose everything but still have your spouse or family or your best friend then it’s going to be ok. Your spouse, friends or relatives have flaws and limitations and they should never be the foundation of your happiness.

Many people are depressed, feel unloved because they have been abandoned by their parents, cheated by their spouse or betrayed by their best friends. As they have been deprived from healthy sources of affections, they turned to pornography, fornication, adultery, drugs or other kinds of addictions.

That you may be able to comprehend with all the saints

The translated Greek words used here is exischuō katalambanō which means ‘rendered thoroughly able to understand/seize/attain the agape love’. Paul explicitly mentioned these words to ensure that the readers fully understood that God loved them. Some years ago even though I was a Christian, I believed that Jesus died for my sins but did not associate it with an act of love. Thus, I did not experience the love of Christ as the saints did because I ignored it and did not consider it as real. It is essential for a Christian not only to know but to be immersed in the love of Christ.

The width and length and depth and height

Paul used measurement characteristics in order to depict a boundless love. It is a love which when you try to measure it in any perspective, you will not reach an end.

This is indeed a mysterious love that when you consider:

  • How deep it is that it caused God almighty to give His one and only Son(John 3:16).
  • How large it is that He forgave the sins of all individuals no matter how gross their sins were “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2.
  • How high it is that it  “his unfailing love toward those who fear him
        is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth” Ps. 103:11.
  • How wide it is that “ He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” Ps. 103:12

To know the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge

The translated Greek word ginōskō for ‘know’  makes allusion of being aware or acknowledge that the love of God is infinite. It is vital for a Christian to know that God’s love is not just a verb but a mysterious science that is boundless in all dimensions.

That you may be filled with all the fullness of God

Thanks to God that this verse does not end there! We are not only expected to know that such a mysterious love exists but also called to experience it.

Among all the great sayings in this prayer, this is the greatest. To be Filled with God is a great thing; to be filled with the Fullness of God is still greater; but to be filled with All the fullness of God, παν το πληρωμα του Θεου, utterly bewilders the sense and confounds the understanding. – Adam Clarke

God’s love brings fulfillment to the soul, it really makes us complete and it is unfailing. It is the kind of love on which we can draw our roots to and never be harmed. It will never fall short to meet the needs of our soul. This is a godly love that only does good to the soul, mind, body and spirit. This is a love on which we can lay a foundation upon, it will never end (Lam. 3:22, Ps 136) and is unfailing (Ps 103:11).  The scripture further reassures us that  demons, angels, calamities or anything in all creation will not be able to “separate us from the love of God” Rom. 8:38-39

An analogy of Christ’s love for the Church

The scripture also describes Christ’s love for the church as a mystery. Christ gave his life for the church and so should be the servant-attitude of the husband towards his spouse.

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word..this is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.” Eph. 5:25-32

The scripture reminds husbands that they should love their spouse. This is something known you may say. However, this is always a good reminder because at times husbands cease to love their spouse when there’re difficulties and even think about quitting or divorce. Paul even goes further by saying that the husband should love his wife as Christ loves the church. This is what differentiates Christian marriages from others. Several marital problems would be resolved if this verse was put into practice. When a husband tasted the boundless love that Christ has for His body – the Church, his heart will overflow with love towards his wife. The wife and the husband became one body when they joined together. When a husband hurts his wife(physically or verbally), he is actually hurting his own body. When a husband loves his wife, he is actually loving himself. Paul gives no conditions for the husband to love his wife, he only gave a reference – Loving as Christ loves. Even if a husband does not feel loved by his wife, he should not cease to love her. He should love her as Christ loves the church. Christ still loves the church even though the latter is often unfaithful and sins so should the husband imitate Christ’s attitude(Phil. 2) by forgiving when offended and always be clothed with love (Col. 3:12-15)

 

 

Posted August 15, 2018 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it   Leave a comment

John 12:49

John 12:49

The words spoken by Jesus were carefully chosen. What He said, where He said His teachings and how He said them were all orchestrated by God. The teachings delivered on the mount, in the synagogues, on the boat, in Jerusalem or outside Jerusalem were all tailor-made for the hearers. Jesus was not taken by surprise when He saw a crowd gathering and wondered “Well, what am I going to teach to these folks today?” At times Jesus would say that it was not yet His time to go to Judea or Jerusalem (John 7:1-19) because He had an agenda prepared by God to accomplish His mission.  He wanted the people to know that His message was from God above.

But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.” John 12:48-50 NLT

The peoplewere surprised when they heard him. “How does he know so much when he hasn’t been trained?” they asked.So Jesus told them, My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies.” John 7:15-18

John the Baptist testified:

He testifies about what he has seen and heard, but how few believe what he tells them!  Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true. For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit.” John 3:34

God Himself testified

This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him” Mark 9:7

Jesus said that if we love Him we’ll keep His commands but He also said : “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?” Luke 6:45

It is therefore essential to live the talk.

Not only was Jesus mandated on what to say but He was also indicated precisely on how to say these teachings. For instance, the way Jesus rebuked the Pharisees in(Luke 11:37-54, Mat. 23, Mat 15:12) was not out of uncontrolled anger or impulse. The way Jesus acted with them was the very expression of how God felt. The Pharisees were offended because of what Jesus said and started to plot on how to kill Him.

These teachings were long prepared in God’s counsels and revealed through Jesus. God Himself came and spoke through His Son (Hebrews 1). When the prophets delivered to Israel God’s message, they did so with the best of their abilities but still imperfectly. This is not the same with the Son as He communicated exactly what God intended to say.

Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God” Hebrews 1

This is why we need to pay careful attention to what the Son said since God judged severely those who disobeyed the law of Moses.

So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. 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? ” Heb. 2:1

It is no wonder that the guards said “We have never heard anyone speak like this!” John 7:46

How can you not be stunned when you hear a man claim that He is the Vine and that his disciples are the branches and if someone does not remain in Him and in His Words, he will perish. He said that apart from Him we cannot do anything, that He is the Way to the Father, the only Truth and the Life. He said He is the bread of life. To the immoral woman and the paralytic man He said ‘Your sins are forgiven’. Jesus’ words were Spirit and life(John 6:63) but many did not understand or refuse His teachings because their heart were evil.

I have read the epistles of Paul,John, Peter and James and learned much about the church and was enlightened about several doctrines. But when I read the Gospels, I can stare for a long time at those words Jesus said and think about them what and how He spoke for days. The teachings He delivered and how He taught them had an impact on my intellect, emotions and attitude.

Jesus foreknew that His teachings and what He did would be preached throughout the world and He had to deliver them perfectly. He said:

I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.” Luke 26:13

John overwhelmingly said:

We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life.  This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. ” 1 John 1

The words of Jesus transformed lives and still do the same throughout the world. It is essential to take the time it requires to unpack the teachings of Jesus and ask questions like why He said He was the Vine,  how He spoke to the Pharisees or when did He decide that it was time to go to Bethany to meet Lazarus. My job often requires me to reuse or modify codes that other programmers wrote. It is essential for me to understand why the programmer used a particular approach to provide a functionality. Similarly, every words spoken by Jesus had its reason. He is the Word of God made flesh and there is none beside Him who could speak God’s words.

Jesus said that if the world hated Him because of the Words He spoke, the world would still hate his disciples who remind of the Words He said(John 15:18-20).

Jesus’s message was clear: If you’re not with Him, you’re against Him (Mat. 12:30). He is the only way to God, the only truth and the source of life. If someone does not trust in Him for salvation, He is going to hell.

Reminding the world of Jesus’s message will cause disdain. People will be offended, say you’re pretentious, biased or stupid. Paul had to face this dilemma when he met with scholars and intellectuals. He had to speak of a Messiah who claimed He was God, died on a cross and rose again. Yet Paul was not ashamed of this Good News.

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes” Rom. 1:16

If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.” Luke 9:26

 

 

 

 

Posted June 16, 2018 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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I Am the Alpha and Omega [Part 3]   Leave a comment

Alpha

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” Rev 22:13

7. Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. The land produced vegetation—all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.

God did not populate the earth once with animals or plants. He gave the possibility to the millions of species He created to do it themselves through reproduction. Some trees can produce more than 1 billion seeds which in turn would produce massive number of plants and seeds.

Vegetables, fruits and plants were to be the main or only aliment that would feed the whole population of humans and animals(Genesis 1:29-30). In this vegetarian world, animals were not created to eat animals nor animals created for man to eat them.

So in the beginning everything that grew was useful and the job that God gave to man was to cultivate the garden of Eden which apparently had the most appealing plants(Gen. 2:15). I like fruits and I planted quite a few seeds of fruits I like to eat. I live in a fertile region and it is not necessary to add stuff to the soil. It is a pleasant experience to see the seed change to plant, grow and bear fruits in abundance. On the other hand, it is not an enthusiastic experience to constantly remove useless herbs, thorns or thistles. It is a sad experience to harvest fruits that have been attacked by pests or to notice that the seeds did not germinate despite having cleanse and plough the land . Before the fall of man, the soil was in perfect state and plants could fastly multiply to feed humans and was suitable for all kind of animals. Probably, the curse in Gen. 3:17-18 reduced the amount of vegetation required to feed animals and man thus causing animal to eat others and man to eat them. Famine for instance is a direct result of man’s sin. Another clue we have is that it was only after the flood that God allowed Noah to eat flesh(Gen. 9:1-4)

The earth’s rotation completed and it was the third day.

8. Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years.Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” And that is what happened. God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good

Imagine how the world would have been if there was no concept of time. We would not be able to set meetings where everyone could meet together, make time-based contracts or scientific experiments. The absence of light allows the earth to cool and living creatures to rest, its presence allows photosynthesis to occur and provides vision. A lot of scientific reasons could be given to explain the importance of having the presence or absence of light. Time reminds us that we’re mortal beings and we’re on earth just for a moment. Our watches have been calibrated to tick at regular intervals in order to complete the 24 hours at the same time the earth completes its rotation. On the first day God said “Let there be light” and here God talks about these celestial bodies that would be used as reference to indicate days, seasons or epochs. As long as the earth rotated only on its own axis, there could be only day and night. There could not be seasons or visible signs such as eclipses, summer, winter, autumn or spring. Probably, the earth started to revolve around the sun at this point in time thus causing the phenomenons of seasons and signs in the sky.  Without the moon or the stars we would have had darker nights. Even though stars provide little light, they have been sufficient signs for navigation in ancient times.  The earth’s rotation completed and it was the fourth day.

Posted February 14, 2018 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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I Am the Alpha and Omega [Part 2]   Leave a comment

Alpha

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” Rev 22:13

The first book and verse of the bible, Genesis 1:1 starts as this:

1. In the beginning ,God!

The author in his introduction clearly puts the first thing first by talking about the Alpha.

The word ‘God’ here refers to the Hebrew word ‘Elohim‘ which implicitly indicates a plurality of persons(The Trinity) in the divine nature.

2. Created the heavens and the earth

The word ‘created’ used here refers to the Hebrew word eth which signifies a particle or the substance of something. As mentioned earlier this word eth is constituted with the first and last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It may be understood that God created the elementary particles or substances that would constitute the heavens and the earth.

3. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

The word formless and empty suggest that the earth was unshaped and ‘unset’. It seems that the mass of particles were scattered, mixed and were not constituting the earthly materials we see today thus leaving a ‘chaotic’ and disordered state. The Spirit of God was hovering over this dark and chaotic world.

4.Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.

We may deduce here that when God created the heavens, He also created the sun, the stars and the whole universe. Notice here that God called the presence of light day and it’s absence night. Thus we may understand that the earth started to rotate on itself causing evening and morning. This rotation of the earth was the means used to enable man to count the days, months, years and epochs. When the morning came, it was thus the first counted day.

5. Then God said, “Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.” And that is what happened. God made this space to separate the waters of the earth from the waters of the heavens. God called the space “sky.”And evening passed and morning came, marking the second day.

We have seen in verse 2 that the earth was without form and there was emptiness. The materials constituting the ‘sky’ were likely mixed with the waters and earthly materials. God therefore settled this emptiness in its place. This emptiness or space is what we call the ‘sky’. This sky would also contain water in gaseous state in the form of clouds, humidity or vapor what would later be used to transport water to any remote places. Without this system of transportation(water life cycle) animals, humans and plants would have died as almost 97% of the globe’s water is found in the seas. The earth’s rotation completed and it was another day.

6. Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened. God called the dry ground “land” and the waters “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

The disordered state mentioned in verse 2 is hereby described in verse 9. Imagine what a muddy state the earth was when the waters and earth were mixed together! So God ordered all the waters to one place, the seas. The retreat of all the waters eventually left space to dry ground – what we call land. 71% of the globe is covered with water.

This proportion of three-fourths water may be considered as too great, if not useless; but Mr. Ray, by most accurate experiments made on evaporation, has proved that it requires so much aqueous surface to yield a sufficiency of vapors for the purpose of cooling the atmosphere, and watering the earth – Adam Clarke

Posted February 1, 2018 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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I Am the Alpha and Omega [Part 1]   Leave a comment

Alpha

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” Rev 22:13

The book of Genesis starts with “In the beginning” and the book of Revelation talks about “The End”. The concept of time started for the world at creation and it will become void after the destruction of the world and the creation of the new heaven and earth(Rev 21), which will subsist for eternity. We have few information what will happen after the destruction of the world and even less information of what happened before the beginning of the world.

Jesus did not only mean that He was from the beginning and will be till the end. He is really the start or initiator of what we call beginning and end. This implies that He was before everything existed and will even be after everything created cease to exist.

This is what He said:

I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One”   Rev. 1:8

From start to end, Jesus is the expression of God’s will. In analogy, from A to Z, α to Ω (Greek), א to ת (Hebrew) or any language that words can be expressed.

It is worthy of remark, that as the union of א aleph and ת tau in Hebrew make את eth, which the rabbins interpret of the first matter out of which all things were formed – Adam Clarke

John said: “In the beginning the Word already existed.The Word was with God,and the Word was God.He existed in the beginning with God.God created everything through him,and nothing was created except through him

No wonder, Jesus is called the Word of God(Rev 19:13). It was Jesus’ name or title before He came to earth. Jesus is the executor of God’s will or simply put – The Creator. He is the author and cause of all things that is visible or invisible whether on earth or heaven(Col 1:16). God’s Word is the means through which God’s thoughts have been translated ,are translated and will be translated into existence.

This is what God said to the Jesus:

He also says to the Son,In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands.” Heb 1:10

God just spoke and it came to be(Ps 33:9).

“Let there be light”, and there was light! Genesis 1:3

“Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Mark 4:39

“Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared (Luke 5:13)

Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed (Luke 7:7)

Posted February 1, 2018 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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The discipline of the disciple   Leave a comment

A disciple of Christ is one who submits himself/herself to spiritual, mental and body discipline.

Discipline is an exercise done to self or others to instill growth. It involves, heart, mind, body and soul. If the discipline exercised on others is not done out of love or for good reasons, it is considered being “controlling”, “abusive” and “dominant”. Self-discipline is a sign of maturity since no one is required to keep us training as we can do it ourselves. A child requires to be disciplined because he/she has no experience of life and need training.

Paul said: “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” 1 Cor. 9:27

Think about an athlete Paul says. An athlete is disciplined at the time he exercises. He has strict control on the food he/she eats and is mentally ready to take up a new challenge each day to attain his goal. Discipline is essential to have a healthy family, body and relationship with others. James says that one who is able to discipline his tongue is a perfect man. Paul advised Timothy to exercise spiritual discipline as it is both beneficial for spiritual and body health. Paul said to Timothy that it requires discipline to be godly.

On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”1 Tim. 4:7

In order to give what it takes to God,our family and ministry, it requires to be disciplined in the way we manage our time. Discipline spares much trouble because you’re not only doing the right thing but also the thing right.  Discipline is the pathway to do what you know is right even if you do not want to do it. It is of course easier to talk about discipline i.e. how to eat, how to exercise than actually doing it. I experienced that disciplining  myself in a particular area of my life was difficult in the beginning but after a few months it became a habit. When self-discipline becomes a habit in different areas of our life, we become more diligent and mature. Spiritual discipline therefore results in spiritual maturity (Eph 4:13).

When someone finds it difficult to discipline self to exercise, he/she looks for a coach in a gym to get him/her training. Nutritionists give strict diet to obese people to help them improve their health. How then can a Christian be helped to be spiritually disciplined? God presents Himself as a Father who disciplines His children(Heb 12:6). God uses the bible, life circumstances, the pastor or a mature Christian to discipline us.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” 2 Tim. 3:16

Our attitude to discipline will either result to maturity or rebellion. It is a painful experience to exercise a body which has not been training for years. So it is when a Christian has not been living a disciplined life for years. He’ll either give up and continue in his sin when chastised or endure the corrective actions until he becomes spiritually fit.

Training several hours a day is not difficult for a world class sprinter but might cause a heart-attack to a one time runner. Living a disciplined life is a decision. Many take that decision to be disciplined in one particular area of his/her life but finally give up after a few days. It requires perseverance for discipline to become a habit. Think about it, if you’ve been able to discipline yourself for 6 months in a particular area of your life, you’ll most likely be able to do it for 1 year and eventually for your whole life if it became a habit.

The body murmurs about waking up early or exercising when the weather is cold outside. The body complains because it has to wait for the food to be cooked when its hunger could immediately be satisfied through a fast-food. Self-discipline allows a man and woman to exercise self-control on their sex drive and spare them much trouble.

One obvious result of discipline is patience. Adam Clarke defined lust as “I want it now!”. This is a childish behavior of wanting everything immediately. Impatience is therefore a sign of immaturity. Vegetables which grow at their own pace are healthier than those which are forced to grow fast through fertilizers. Better things take time and are usually more valuable.

Veggies are not always as tasty as junk foods but healthier.Physical exercises cause body pain but keep the body fit. Restrictions on expenses cause discomfort but protect self and family. So it is with discipline, it causes pain and discomfort because our flesh naturally seeks for pleasure. Do you want to exercise self for the purpose of godliness?

 

Posted August 29, 2017 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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Servant Leadership   Leave a comment

Servant Leadership

But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mat. 20:26

  1.  Different from conventional leadership

Jesus taught that Christian leadership is servanthood which is clearly opposed to the world’s concept of being the “Boss”, “Director”, “Captain” or someone having authority over others. Most if not all types of leadership (dictatorial leadership, strategic,charismatic etc) have a man or a group of people at the head having authority. The professional world does not know such thing as an inversed pyramidal way of leading. How can a slave be a leader ?

The word “deacon” used by Paul in 1 Timothy refers to servant or slave. Adam Clarke described it as “The office of a deacon, in the primitive Church, was to serve in the agapae, or love feasts, to distribute the bread and wine to the communicants; to proclaim different parts and times of worship in the churches; and to take care of the widows, orphans, prisoners, and sick, who were provided for out of the revenues of the Church

This definition implies that such a person does not exercise authority on the Lord’s flock, he serves humbly and is concerned for the weak. This type of leadership position is not limited and does not cease to be when you leave position at church or at work. This leadership is really about your character and who you are.

Paul himself described himself as a slave of Christ. (Rom 1:1)

I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ“(1 Cor 9:19)

2. It’s not about what you have but about who you want to be

It’s not your intelligence or experience that makes you the type of spiritual leader Jesus is talking about. Jesus said that it is a personal decision to serve others. If you really want to be great in the sight of God, then serve.

Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave

Paul mentioned no physical,financial or intellectual qualifications to be this kind of leader. The qualities that Paul mentioned had to do with conduct at home, at church and especially with non followers of Jesus(1 Tim. 3:7).

3. This kind of leadership is sacrificing self for others

A great leader in the world is measured by his financial results, physical performance, political decision or intellectual abilities. Though Jesus was the utmost authority on earth, He came to serve humanity by pouring out His life for their salvation. Paul said:

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Rom. 5:6

Jesus gave an example to his disciples to follow when He washed their feet. Great leaders in the eyes of God are experts in feet cleansing(not theirs of course).

now he loved them to the very endAnd since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. ” John 13:1-14

4. This leadership seeks no reward and is rooted in humility

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God,he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges,he took the humble position of a slave” Phil. 2:3

This kind of leadership is not motivated in getting something from others but in giving to others. Jesus said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” Acts 20:35

Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” Luke 6:35

It does not have to prove something to be recognized.

There is no need to do self-appraisal or show your senior what you did in order to get a promotion. Your CV is written by God not by you.

5. This leadership draws its strength from love

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

How to know if you’re a servant who pleases God?

Ask yourself these questions:

Are you patient and kind with your family? Are you serving them?

Are you jealous, boastful, proud and rude with your colleagues or are you gentle, helpful and pushing them towards success? Are you serving them?

Do you easily get angered and have an unforgiving heart with your neighbor? Are you serving them?

Do you persevere in serving others despite no recognition and being hurt by them?

Servant leadership is imitating Christ’s example of serving others.

Paul said: “My old self has been crucified with Christ.It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. ” Gal 2:20

6. It is a Master and slave relationship

Paul made himself a servant of all and was an instrument in the Master’s hand to pour out His love on people. If we call Christ Master then it follows that we consider ourselves slaves.

A slave does not seek for his right but obeys His Master. There’re no menial tasks but all are duties. They do not have working hours, they are readily available any time. They do not live in luxury but are satisfied with what they have. Slaves have no reasons to seek for glory.

In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.”Luke 17:18.

Finally, successful spiritual leadership is not through strategy but through the influence of the Holy Spirit. Without submission to the Holy Spirit, we will not bear the fruit of the Spirit and our leadership will be carnal.

Imagine how the workplace would have been if the boss had an attitude of servanthood towards employees, how our country would have been if the political leader had a servant attitude towards citizens, how a classroom would have been if the teacher had an attitude of service towards students or how the family would have been if the father/husband served his wife and children. If those in authority exercised servanthood, it would have brought less harm, more peace and love.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted August 5, 2017 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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What good deed must I do to have eternal life?   Leave a comment

CamelThroughNeedlesEye

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” Mat 19:23

Context: Jesus was about to leave for Jerusalem and a man came running and knelt down at his feet to ask a important question (Mark 10:17-22)

Who was this man? The Gospel of Luke (18:18) tells us that he was a religious leader and Matthew precised that this man was young and rich(Mat. 19:22).

In our era we could say this was the perfect guy any woman would like to marry or the right businessman to make honest deals with.

We discover in these verses that the man was humble and was sincerely seeking for an answer to a question which was a matter of utmost importance to him. His question was simply: ‘How can I get into heaven?’

If he was sick and old we could understand that it was a legitimate question to ask before dying, but here it was a young man which still had vitality and time. Though he was a religious leader, he came with humility and considered Jesus as the teacher who could taught him what to do. The question that this young man had did not just pop up suddenly and caused him to run. I believe that for quite some time he tried to answer this question by himself but nothing worked.

Before getting to the the subject, we can see through this scene, the soul of  a man which says: ‘I am religious, know well God’s laws and obey them but still I feel unsatisfied and not at peace in my heart. I still do not have the peace and conviction that I will go to heaven. Why?

I call this situation the Desperate Soul’s syndrome. He was rich but his soul was still unhappy. His flesh was satisfied with the things of this world, his religious conscience tried but in vain to reassure his soul of salvation but that soul kept lamenting and be desperate. The flesh wanted to fool the soul by saying ‘My soul, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!‘ Luke 12:18

The soul no longer wanted to be fooled. The soul’s desire was not quenched with worldly things and kept tormenting the young man with this question: ‘Where will you make me spend eternity, heaven or hell?’ To this question, the young man had the answer but not the one his soul wanted to hear. This man probably heard Jesus’ teachings before and he knew that Jesus was kind of a doctor who could tell him what he could do to calm down his soul.

Jesus often liked to unroll little by little His plans when talking with people. For example he did not tell the Samaritan woman that she had 5 husbands at the beginning of the conversation, nor did he grant the request of the Canaanite woman at first request(Mat 15) . He wanted the woman who had a blood lesion to reveal herself instead of clearly stating that it was her. Even though he knew there were just a few bread and fish, He asked his disciples how all the thousands people will be fed.

Jesus knew why the rich man came but told him a first answer which He knew the man tried and did not work. Jesus told him: ‘Keep the commandments’.

So the man retorted, OK but which one? The commandments are divided in 2 parts, the first 4 related to God and the last 6 related to man. By mentioning the latter, Jesus again mentioned answers He already knew and practiced:

Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not testify falsely ,  Do not steal and Honor your parents.I obeyed these like many people. Well, even the respectable atheist has a code of conduct and honor his parents, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not testify falsely and do not murder.

Sigh, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?”

Now comes the crux of the answer which I believe is related to the first 2 commandments – relationship with God. The rich young man was a religious leader and I believe he observed the Sabbath and probably did not misuse God’s name. However, he did not realize that he was violating the first 2 commandments which dealt with having no other gods. The rich man’s problem was that the god of money,Mammon, invaded his heart and kept him away from God. His possessions made him idolatrous. To deal with this gangrene in his heart, it had to be removed and this caused him a heartache.

When Jesus heard his answer, he said, There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Luke 18:22

Adam Clarke said of this verse:

If thou wilt be perfect – Τελειος ειναι, To be complete, to have the business finished, and all hinderances to thy salvation removed, go and sell that thou hast – go and dispose of thy possessions, to which it is evident his heart was too much attached, and give to the poor – for thy goods will be a continual snare to thee if thou keep them; and thou shalt have treasure in heaven – the loss, if it can be called such, shall be made amply up to thee in that eternal life about which thou inquirest; and come and follow me – be my disciple, and I will appoint thee to preach the kingdom of God to others. This was the usual call which Christ gave to his disciples

What does cupidity means in biblical perspective?

In my opinion, it is not limited to the amount of possession but also about storing up more what is needed for personal use. Storing up more what is needed is then cupidity or greediness. One can be a millionaire without being avaricious and one can possess little and be avaricious. To this Jesus said:

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Mat. 6:19

To be rich, therefore, is in general a great misfortune: but what rich man can be convinced of being miserable?

The trade off for the rich man was: Should I get rid of the possession that gives my flesh comfort to possess the peace of soul possession cannot offer?

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!

Posted May 13, 2017 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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The Passover, the Lord’s Supper and Easter   Leave a comment

 

 

Lord's Supper

The downcast disciples on the road of Damascus had a sad remembrance of Jesus. They said: He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel…” Luke 24:19

This is not how Jesus wanted His disciples to remember Him so He explained to them what the scriptures told about the Messiah. It was only after Jesus shared bread with them that they recognised Him.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:30

These disciples quickly forgot what Jesus taught.Jesus said “Remember, what I told you” Luke 24:24.What do you remember of Jesus? What can you say about Him?

The angels said to the women who came to Jesus’s tomb:

Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ Then they remembered his words.” Luke 24:4

John the Baptist said of Him : Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

When Jesus asked who people said He was, Peter said: But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Mat 16:15

John described Jesus as the Word of God made flesh and each disciples remembered Jesus in a particular way.

The Lord’s Supper was an ordinance that helped the disciples of Damascus to remember Jesus. It remembered them who Jesus was and what He did. Jesus wanted His disciples to remember His death on the cross and return.

Why an ordinance?

In the past, God appointed 3 national festivals among the Jews to make them remember of extraordinary things He accomplished. Man easily forgets so it was important to establish such things as feasts to keep it a practice from generation to generation. When children asked their parents about the raison-d’être of these feasts(Ex. 12:26,13:8), it was the opportunity for parents to pass on to them what the Lord did in the past for their ancestors.

“God, out of his great wisdom,” says Calmet, “appointed several festivals among the Jews for many reasons:

  1. To perpetuate the memory of those great events, and the wonders he had wrought for the people; for example, the Sabbath brought to remembrance the creation of the world; the Passover, the departure out of Egypt; the Pentecost, the giving of the law; the feast of Tabernacles, the sojourning of their fathers in the wilderness, etc.
  2. To keep them faithful to their religion by appropriate ceremonies, and the splendor of Divine service.
  3. To procure them lawful pleasures, and necessary rest.
  4. To give them instruction; for in their religious assemblies the law of God was always read and explained.

No matter their differences or from which tribe of Israel they were, all came together to celebrate in family these feasts. This is still true among different Christian denominations. Despite their differences, most if not all celebrate the Lord’s Supper. The slavery in Egypt reminded of the privation of liberty, suffering in the body and service of a foreign ruler. The freedom from sin brought by Christ is analogous to the deliverance of the miserable life of Egypt.

It is worthy to note that it was the community(including children) which sacrificed the lamb and it was not specifically destined for the priests alone(Ex. 12:6). This remembers us that Christ was killed by the community.  The Passover reminded the Jews of the miracle God did to deliver them from slavery in Egypt. The Lord literately passed over houses without killing the first-born of the Israelites. After the destruction of Jerusalem, the paschal lamb ceased to be offered by the Jews throughout the world even though they kept the remembrance. No more sacrifice was to be made and the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was instituted to keep this true paschal sacrifice in commemoration.

Paul said:”Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us.So let us celebrate the festival” 1 Cor. 5:7

The Lord gave one New Command:Love one another as it sums up the laws and the prophets(Mat. 22:40).

He gave one new ordinance: The Lord’s Supper Luke 22.

He also gave one mission: Go and preach to the whole world(Mat. 28)

The Lord’s Supper reminds why Christ has come and what He did. This is an ordinance that shall perpetually continue until Christ’s coming.

Paul said:  “This is my body, which is given for you.Do this in remembrance of me…For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.” 1 Cor 11:23-26

In Luke 22, Jesus said: ““I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” Luke 22:15

On the day of Passover, Jesus wanted the disciples to remember Him in a special way. He was going to be the long foretold Passover Lamb and it was His day. This is what Jesus wanted His disciples to remember:

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you

Easter has nothing to do with Passover, it is a pagan festival which in no way points to Christ as the sacrificial Lamb. Easter remembers of eggs, chocolates or rabbits and takes Christ off the stage. The Lord’s Supper however was a solemn moment where Jesus’s disciples shared in a dinner with their to-be Savior.

I have heard many preachers portray Jesus as a martyr who suffered much. What rendered the sacrifice of Jesus acceptable to God was not as such His suffering but who He was. Jesus said  You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life. ” John 5:39

It was not just anyone who went on that Cross. Jesus’s name is God’s Word(Rev 19:13). He is God with Us(Emmanuel), the Son of God and Son of Man. He is the one foretold who will crush the serpent’s head.He is the promised posterity of Abraham(Gal. 3:16) and the promised descendant of David who will be King forever. He is also the High Priest of the tabernacle in heaven. Theologically, there’re so many things to say and remember about Jesus. However, when we think about what Jesus said in His last supper, we REMEMBER the crux of His Mission and the very essence of His person.

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” Luke 22:19

 

 

Posted April 15, 2017 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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