Contending for the Faith: Stay In Christ

~ Jude 1:20-23 ~

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh”.

In conclusion of this exposition on the call to contend for the faith, Jude adds additional pointers, exhorting believers to stand their ground, build muscle, rescue those heading towards hell and destruction, but hating their defiled garments.

Build Yourself up, in your most Holy Faith. Just as physical muscle is developed by weight exercises, so the Lord expects a building up of holy faith, by doing some lifting, digging deeper and applying discipline. An athlete preparing for the Olympic games, trains hard to get into shape. They watch what gets inside their body and they operate under strict discipline. Why? Because they have their eyes on the crown. Jude gave the exhortation to build yourself up in your most holy faith, keeping your eyes on the crown of glory.  Stay disciplined, don’t get distracted because you are in a competition for the price of the upward call, with many witnesses and many counting on you. Don’t drop the baton, stay in shape so you can endure to the end of the race, with no muscle crumps and no surprises on that day.  The apostle Paul brings this out very well: “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

Jude then exhorts to pray in the Holy Spirit. To let God give articulation to the deepest groanings that words cannot even utter, tuning into His Spirit and connecting with Him for a deeper conversation. In doing this, you begin to operate at the right frequency, cutting out the background noise, getting right into the throne room and in deep communion with the Holy One. With that you can keep Yourself in the Love of God, and not get out of lane, as Jude exhorts, but keep your focus and remain in the love of God. In this way John 8:32 becomes meaningful, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”.  Thus, continuing in Hs word uncovers the truth, and bring you the true freedom, thereby proving to be His disciples. From that point, look for mercy unto Eternal Life. When you are building up the most holy faith in Jesus Christ, praying in the Holy Spirit and keeping yourself in the love of God, you are essentially placing yourself in the place where God delights.  The place where His forgiveness is made available for those that love Him, not remembering their sins against them, but showing mercy. A place where the pleasure of the Lord abounds for restoration, because a heart is set after Him.  In that place, His enduring mercy can be found unto eternal life. Once conditioned and positioned, show compassion, making a distinction. Compassion leads to action, identifying with the situation and taking action to bring change. In this direction, Jude admonishes to make a distinction, meaning don’t get entangled in the situation you find others in but become a solution provider heeding the call to act.

The call rings loud;  save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hate the garments defiled by the flesh. In other words, heed the call, going to every extent to ensure the truth is well communicated and that people are getting onto the pathway of life. Just as there are people clothed in righteousness, others stand defiled in every way and headed for destruction. For those, there is a call to save with fear, hating even the garments defiled by the flesh. To pull out of the fire is no time to be “politically correct” as fire fighters in an emergency situations will attest to, but be uncompromising and  tell the uncompromising truth  to pull out of the fire, because the destiny of many depend on it. To stand unconcerned is to snuff out freedom’s holy light and allow for the destruction of those heading towards the fire of hell, which is only reserved for the devil and the fallen angels, as the scriptures indicate.

Therefore, stand and show the way to life, point people in the direction of righteousness, and not be afraid to call out the wrong doings with love, calling a spade a spade in order to bring them to the place of God’s mercy. Jesus already made provision, on the cross, for their deliverance from the curse of the law so they can be grafted into the covenant of Abraham and be part of a people called by His name. In doing this, it is important to keep a sustained focus on the King of Kings, the Sovereign One, the Lord Almighty, examining yourself daily to be sure you are still in the faith and living in a daily expectation of His return. I pray that many will heed the call and many sons and daughters of righteousness will be born throguhout this period of lent.

 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.

#dadwedaa

March 8, 2019

Contending for the Faith: Giving God His glory

~ Exodus 32:14 ~

“So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people”.

The scripture above is a very beautiful scripture which gave the people a sigh of relief, that the sovereign Lord, the Lord Almighty, the Lord of Host relented from executing His full wrath upon them. I would be most grateful. This happened because Moses stood in the gap for the people and for that, God changed His mind. But why would God be so angry as to want to wipe out an entire people? Because they had exchanged His glory for that of a carved image, an idol;

“And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” So, when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.” Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play” (Exodus 32:4-6, NKJV).

All of this, after seeing all the wonderful works of power for their deliverance, all the provision, the presence with them by day and by night and to turn away and attribute all that grace and deliverance to a golden calf as their god, that was apostasy, meriting the full wrath of God Almighty, but for Moses.  The trend continued and eventually, God took a firm decision after the people had rejected Him ten times according to the scriptures;

“Then the Lord said: “I have pardoned, according to your word; but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord— because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it” (Numbers 14: 20-23).

This denial of entry, into the land of promise for an entire group of people was mainly because God could no longer tolerate them nor pardon them, due to their hardened hearts and rejection of Him even though they had seen His works, experienced His power, been under His banner, they turned to their own way, denying Him the glory. They made mockery of Him, denying Him the glory.

In Jude 1: 5-19, he exhorted the believers in his day and in our day to remember what happened to the people who were delivered out of Egypt, but who turned away and did not believe in the God of their deliverance, rather turning to idols instead and grumbled against God. Those were destroyed and prevented from seeing the promised land.  Jude 1:14-15, gave a reminder of what happened then and what is yet to come saying;

“Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” (Jude 1:14-15).

He further outlines the behavior characteristics of the people he talks about which is consistent with the behavior pattern of the people that God prevented from entering into the promised land as recorded in book of Numbers.

These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit” (Jude 1:16-19).

It is my prayer that in the light of what the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross of Calvary, that there will be a change in direction for those heading towards destruction. For soon, there shall be the trumpet sound and the sound of the arch angel, and then it will be too late, just like the people that did not make it to the promised land because they turned away from God.

It was in 1974, that the late Rev. Billy Graham, at the launch of the Lausanne Movement, in Switzerland sounded the call “that the Earth may hear His voice”, the voice of the Lord Almighty. The Rev. Isaac Ababio of Ghana echoed the same call his entire adult life.  Both have been gathered to the fathers, in the same year having completed their work.  These were two mighty men of faith on two different continents passing on the torch.  The echo continues in all urgency to the ends of the earth, that “the earth may hear His voice” as a witness, before the day of the Lord. The signs are telling. Have you heard that voice?

As we enter into the period of lent, I pray that you will clearly hear His voice, embrace Him and give Him the due glory, before the trumpet call so the Lord Almighty will relent and let you in.

#dadwedaa

March 6, 2019

Judgment through one and Justification by another

When Adam disobeyed God in the garden of Eden, he died spiritually as God had originally indicated in Genesis 2:16-17,

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying “of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.””

When Adam and Eve ate of tree, the unhindered communion with God was severed and they began to hide from God. The protection of their innocence was no more due to their disobedience, they had been ushered into a new realm, the awareness of good and evil, and became disconnected from direct and harmonious fellowship with God, which the bible calls death (please read for yourself, Genesis 3:7-8). To be sure Adam and Eve did not get trapped in that state of disconnected fellowship forever, God kicked them out of the garden, so they would not take of the tree of life and live forever (please read for yourself, Genesis 3:22-24).

Does the rest of humanity share in Adam’s sin (disobedience) and its consequences?  The answer is YES as Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” which is exactly what happened to Adam in the garden. His sinful and fallen nature propagated to the rest of humanity. By virtue of Adam’s disobedience, the rest of humanity carry the same fallen (sinful) nature which has no spontaneous fellowship with God but rather separated from Him, having the same awareness of good and evil and predisposition towards sin which God referred to as death in the garden of Eden. Again, Isaiah 53:6 states:

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, everyone to his own way and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

 This means every one of us by virtue of what transpired in the garden of Eden, have gone astray, away and separated from God, which is death. To reconnect us back to God, the iniquity of us all was laid on Jesus Christ to redeem the connection originally lost in the garden of Eden. Symbolically, the dividing wall between man and God was torn as Jesus paid the price on the cross (Mathew 5:21) such that the possibility for direct reconnection to and fellowship with God was restored as in Romans 5:18,

“Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgement came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men resulting in justification of life.”

The sin of Adam brought separation from God to all men and the righteous act of Christ on the cross (satisfaction of God’s judgement) brought justification for all. This justification is by acceptance ONLY, although it is available to all as in John 3:16,

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”.

Believing precedes justification, even though justification is available to all. Thus, through one man’s (Adam) offense judgement (spiritual death) came to all and through one man’s (Christ) righteous act the free gift resulting in justification of life came to all men. Adam sinned and man died and separated from God, Christ died so man could be justified and live!

I pray that you will accept the free gift and be justified before God living a restored life of fellowship with Him.

Amen!

#dadwedaa

February 27, 2019

What are YOU going to do?

~ John 3:17-19 ~

“For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.”

When a deal is sealed, its terms become binding. When a deal is sealed by someone who has power to make it happen, it is worth considering and taking seriously. When that deal is sealed by someone in whose nature there is not even a shadow of deceit, it can be trusted. When that deal is extended by one who can change your destiny forever, it calls for undivided attention and serious consideration. When God extended His grace, it was extended to ALL people and for ALL time, till the end of time. The truth is, it is not something you need to wait to find out at the last minute.  You can enter in now. When the curtain closes the deal is off, the closing bell can be anytime and any day. My advice is to book your seat before it is too late. I’d rather have a deal that is already paid for than one that involves a gamble, one in which the terms are well laid out and very certain, one that holds promise here and now and also for eternity. As Charles Spurgeon puts it, “all you have to do is look and believe”. The deal is on, eternal LIFE or eternal DEATH, it’s yours to choose. Soon there shall be the sound of the trumpet call and the game will be over. This is your touchdown moment, make it count and seal the victory. The ball is in the air, heading in your direction, close to the end zone. The clock is ticking.

#dadwedaa

February 16, 2019

“A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain counsel.” – Proverbs 1:5

A Solemn Night!

It was an awe gripping and  a solemn night, when the call went out to prepare for the journey out, “get ready, Time is up”. To a people mistreated, abused, hated, threatened, cheated, it was welcoming. They had heard  the deliverance talked about, they had seen the shear show of force on their behalf, they knew their cry for help had been heard on high, their deliverance had now come. On that night, that solemn night, God did not only deal a devastating blow to Egypt, He also instituted a memorial for His chosen people, one that would be celebrated through ALL generations, the Passover.  On that solemn night, when fear had gripped an entire nation, God instituted this feast  as a memorial for ALL generations. As the Hebrews locked themselves up and had the feast in a hurry and in obedience, God was moving through the land of Egypt executing the final act of His justice, however passing over His own chosen people, the Hebrews. It was not long before the wailing could be heard throughout the land of Egypt but none near the camp of the Hebrews according to the word of the Lord.

On that awe gripping but solemn night, before their freedom was secured by divine acts, the Lord unveiled the memorial that Jesus years later longed to celebrate with the disciples before going to the cross. He became the Passover lamb connecting the old memorial with the new covenant He came to establish.  Through Jesus, the Passover connects with the Lords Supper and unveils a call to true freedom on the night on which he was betrayed. As God the father prepared to deal a devastating blow to sin and its powerful grip on humanity, Jesus was telling the disciples and those coming after them “remember me through the events of this solemn night”.  As Jesus celebrated the Passover, remembering the solemn night before the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, He established a new covenant  for all mankind such that in Him, the Sovereign Lord passes over in judgement, In Him salvation comes, In Him the curse of the law is broken and the gentiles, outside the covenant of God with Abraham, become plugged into God’s chosen inheritance, His own people, called by His name. He established this, as the two solemn nights got connected making it possible for mankind to have forgiveness, to receive absolute salvation. There is no need to do battle for it, no need to kill for it, no need to pay money for it or travel to a far country for it.  The only requirement is repentance, then  accept the free gift of grace  that comes through Jesus Christ and that settles it forever.

In that moment of acceptance, the solemn night in Egypt connects with the solemn night with Christ and the two together connects with your solemn moment, the moment when your destiny is changed, when your name is entered into the Lambs book of life. In that solemn moment, when your trajectory is shifted from the path of death to that of life, your day of deliverance, your D-day,  you can begin to join in the holy chorus of freedom and glory in its light  and with true meaning join the songwriters Keith and Kristyn Getty sing:

In Christ alone, who took on flesh

Fullness of God in helpless Babe

This gift of love and righteousness

Scorned by the ones He came to save

Til on that cross as Jesus died

The wrath of God was satisfied

For every sin on Him was laid

Here in the death of Christ I live.

#dadwedaa

February 7, 2019

“A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain counsel.” – Proverbs 1:5