Monday, 14 October 2019

Salvation by Works vs. Works for Rewards?

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Rewarded for Our Works or Our Salvation
If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor,” John 12:26

In the Bible, the rewards for the believers are identified with five crowns in total:

  • the Everlasting Crown (Victory) (1 Cor 9:24-27) - overcoming man sinful nature through our Lord Jesus
  • the Crown of the Soul Winner (Phil 4:1 and 1 Thess 2:19-20) - reaching out - sharing the gospel (Matt 28:19)
  • the Crown of Righteousness (2 Tim 4:8) - longing for Jesus return
  • the Crown of Life (James 1:12, Rev 2:10) - enduring through trials
  • the Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:4) - ministering God’s people

These crowns are awarded for us at the Bema Seat judgment which immediately followed the return of our Redeemer for the saints known as an event called the rapture. I know, some of you will stop reading right here, condemning and accusing me of heresies for believing in the rapture, therefore discrediting me with the rest of the book content. Let me be very clear, "expecting the return of our Lord Jesus before, during or at the end of the time of Jacob’s trouble known as the great tribulation is not a cause of losing our salvation." We are saved by believing in our Lord and in His resurrection. We are not saved by believing in a certain time of His return.

Here is the description of one crown given by God’s righteous judgement:

The Crown of Righteousness
“Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing,” 2 Tim 4:8.

This special crown of righteousness that Paul is describing is for those who are anticipating Jesus’ return. They are the one who depends completely on the act of mercy and grace and understands that they will never measure up. Their desire is for the day when they would no longer sin, (John 12:25) and desire for the day when Jesus will return to take us out of this sinful world. 

The crown of righteousness is for those who are disgusted with their sin nature and are disgusted toward a sinful world. Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33). As for us, our overcoming happens with Christ through faith, (1 Corinthians 15:52, 1 Peter 1:4).
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5
This group of believers are watchful for the signs of His return. They pray diligently for His soon return, “Let Thy Kingdom Come,” deliver us from evil (the lies and the deceptions). If you are not looking forward to the day that you will no longer sin, and don't desire His kingdom to come this crown will not be your reward. Additionally, if you are not watchful for His return, you will be caught by surprise at Jesus appearance;

“But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief,” 1 Thess 5:4.

Salvation by Works vs. Works for Rewards

Salvation is available equally to every soul, no matter how sinful one might be as written in (Romans 3:23, John 3:16). It is available to the whole world. Only one condition applies; you receive it by believing,  an act of faith alone, trusting in Jesus alone. Salvation is available to whoever believes in the Son of God who His name is Jesus and in His resurrection, (Romans 10:9) no matter when received in their lifetime.  

In the book of Matthew in chapter twenty verses one to sixteen, The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard talk about receiving the same reward, which is receiving salvation at any giving time in someone's life, and that is when the landlord (the Father) called us to follow Jesus. The labourers agreed with the landowner for a denarius a day, which is a normal wage for a day’s work; the wage represents eternal life. The act of agreeing is represented by the act of faith. This parable has nothing to do with the doctrine of Lordship Salvation. Eternal life is a gift received by accomplishing only one single act of faith, which is believing, (John 6:29). Lordship Salvation adhered in the belief that fruit must be produced to prove someone's salvation be true. This logic makes no sense. Any kind of tree takes years to produce fruits, some more time than others. It must first grow, must take root deep into the soil for good nutrition. Good nutrition is God’s word. His words prepare us to produce fruits.  It is God the Father who draws us to Jesus and teaches preparing us to be a steward for Christ, (Jn 6:44- 45, 6:65)

Therefore, this parable represents working in the vineyard as going through life after receiving salvation as agreed. Those called early have bare the responsibility of harvesting under the heat of the day, life challenge of a Christian’s life, (2 Cor 4:8). Those called late received the same gift, eternal life who bared fewer burdens.

Verse 16, Jesus’ statement “So the last will be first, and the first last,” reflects Jesus’ righteous judgement toward those who received salvation at the end of their life. Take for instance the example of the criminal crucified adjacent to Jesus in the book of Luke chapter 23, verse 42, who confessed that Jesus is Lord and believed Jesus' testimony of the resurrection day, (Romans 10:9). It is Jesus way of saying that it doesn’t matter when you believed and accepted Jesus as Lord in your life, you receive the same wage as anybody else who has believed whenever during their lifetime - which is eternal life, (Eph 2:8-9). If you think that Jesus is unfair as accused by the labourers called to work early in the vineyard, take the argument to our Lord. After all, He makes the rules, (1 Sam 3:18, and read the whole book of Job).

Although by grace alone and by faith alone we are saved, by believing in the work of Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection, we will be judged according to our works done for Him, (Eph 2:10, 2 Tim 2:20). We will receive either praise for the good work done for Jesus or disapproval for the work that we assumed was for Jesus but was not:

“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God, which was given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.  If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward,” 1 Cor 3:9-14.

Paul explained that once saved on the foundation of Jesus, we would be giving accountability for the type of work, in which we added to His foundation. It should be easy to understand now why the younger son, in the parable of the lost son (Luke 15:11), had not been reinstated at the same level of stewardship as his older brother. His works were tested and destroyed by fire, yet he is still part of the family. Our works are also being tested. In (1 Cor 3:9-14), Paul wrote about receiving rewards for the works accomplish for Jesus. In our lifetime, works assumed for our Lord Jesus are destroyed by fire. We will be part of the family of God, but we will not be receiving a crown, a level of governance as a reward. You won’t be able to blame your minister for not receiving your reward. That was a choice - you refused to believe and to follow Jesus instructions. Ministers do not have authority over you, (Matt 20:25-26). Ministers, pastors, and priests are teachers, (James 3:1, 2 Tim 4:3), and everybody will give accountability for his/her works and will be rewarded accordingly. Take the analogy of my college teacher who prepared me for my career - I am responsible for applying what I was taught.

“This is a faithful saying:
For if we died with Him,We shall also live with Him.If we endure,We shall also reign with Him.If we deny Him,He also will deny us.If we are faithless,He remains faithful;He cannot deny Himself,” 2 Tim 2:11-13
“So, then each of us shall give account of himself to God,” Rom 14:12.

In (Rom 14:12), Paul is addressing believers in Rome; therefore, Paul is not teaching about salvation, but about receiving rewards. It is so important that you test all things, by questioning all that is being taught to you, (1 Thess 5:21, 1 John 4:1). There is no excuse. We have the Bible resources available to cross-reference any minister’s teaching. We do not live in the Dark Age when a single church had control over their population by teaching a doctrine of man as a substitute, (1 Tim 1:5-72, Tim 3:10-11). You will be giving accountability with no one to represent you. Jesus warned us not to be deceived, (Matt 24:5). There are so many who chose to stay with the traditional church of their youth without questioning.  Test all doctrines and principalities taught, (1 Thess 5:21, 1 John 4:1). Judgement is worst when we’re told and didn’t heed to His instructions just because it was not popular to do so.

All denominations live by a specific Statement of Belief, a creed anchored, and unmovable, which most of them have not been reviewed for decades.  Do you not understand that we are called to grow in knowledge (2 Pet 3:18, Col 2:19) and that understanding never ceases to increase (Prov 1:5)? These unchallenged and unrevised Statements of Belief only cause division and stirred up mistrust between Christians who accuse each other of a false teacher. We make Satan's job so easy by creating discord among ourselves isn’t … go figure.   Personally, I view these various Statements of Belief similar to grade school standard, from grade one to the level of a university master's degree, - from milk to solid food, (Heb 5:12, 1 Cor 3:2).

Let me use the analogy of an old fashioned 1st-century classroom format. There were 12 grades in one building/one room. The teacher had the responsibility to teach all grades in one day. When the teacher instructs grade 12 students, the subject taught went over the head of the lower grade students. When the teacher instructs grade one level students, the students of grade 12 were bored to death. That is what preachers or ministers are facing today, many attendees are stuck in grade one, satisfied with the gospel of God’s grace preached every Sunday refusing to move one to the next level, hindering the minister and student of higher interest to progress in knowledge and understanding. Blessed are those denominations who offer Bible study after regular worship hour and blessed are those who live in this present era of the internet where anyone interested to advance in knowledge has the opportunity to do so.

Paul used the Olympics as an analogy and explained to the Corinthians that once they qualified to run, they run to win a medal. Jesus is the one who qualified us to take part in the race through believing in His death and resurrection; therefore, we do not run to keep our salvation; we run for rewards, medals, and crowns.

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown,” 1 Cor 9:24-25.

“Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown,” Rev 3:11.

“They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God.  And indeed, there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last,” Luke 13:29-30

How many of you have ever run in a long-distance race either in provincial or state competition or even a nation Olympic? Athletes come from the east, the west, from the north and the south within a nation.  In 10,000 metres race, all runners line up take evenly at the starting line. At the starting pistol sound, the race is on its way. All take a strategic position to minimize energy to maximize endurance. The one with less endurance will fall back giving way not necessarily to the stronger but to the one that can endure the pain of burning muscles. As the finish line approach, the leading runners will give a final sprint, all-out dash – all focus to the finishing line. Lungs on fire, dry throat accompanied by excruciating muscle pain…  the body crying out to stop…

“And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise, Heb 6:15

“If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward, 1 Cor 3:14

“…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,” 1 Cor 13:7

“But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry,” 2 Tim 4:5

Minister, elders, teachers, students of God’s word, and Christians from the four corners of the world, Paul admonished to run in such a way that you may obtain the prize, the reward, an imperishable crown. Run with endurance. It will happen that some will not endure and will slow down… it’s OK! Even the best athlete such as The Apostle Paul had his moment of weakness.

“For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know.  For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain,” 1 Thess 3:4-5

These moments of weakness in our lives are only a reminder that it is through Christ that we can do all things, (Phil 4:13).

I experience such a moment of enduring an excruciating muscle pain by participating in a race. I was in fifth grade. God started to teach me a life lesson at a very young age. Our school didn’t have a track & field. The race track was two times around the schoolyard, an equivalent of approximately three third of a kilometre. A shed was at the outer limit of the field that runners needed to go around before heading back to the starting/finishing line. For an unknown reason then, but revealed later, God made His presence known at that event. I was not interested to participate. My intent was just to go along, paste myself to the finishing line, not interested to win. I could hear God motivating me to give my all. I respond back with all kinds of excuses not to. Coming around the shed on the last laps, I remember making a riposte saying to God that the two runners ahead of me had too much of a lead and besides I’m tired. That when I perceived hearing in my heart Him saying… “Go for it… you can do it…” I complied and give my all without understanding what was happening, (Phil 2:12-13). A 200 meters sprint, I ran and ran with all I had - approaching the second led runner who picked up speed as I gain on him. He gave his all, head to head I gradually took the lead fast approaching the leading runner. At my sight, the runner took off with powerful leaps… side by side the finishing line on site… aching muscle, and lungs on fire, I could no longer endure, I was ready to quit... and just as I was about to, … the adjacent runner slowed down giving me the final drive to run to the finishing line. My teacher and fellow students were stunned by my accomplishment, but frankly, not as stunned as I was. Now, I’ve learned that with God all things are possible,” (Matthew 19:26), yet I kept it as a secret for a long time. Never in my mind, I would be using this lesson as an analogy of God’s coaching lesson. When the going got tough in my life and felt like quitting, this lesson comes to mind.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,”                   Phil 4:13.

Earning crowns have nothing to do with keeping our salvation. You could lose your crown but never your salvation. Have no fear of losing your salvation as some do. That is very unfortunate, that so many fears of losing it. Backsliding, Lordship Salvation is false theologies.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand,” John 10:27-29.

“they shall never perish” means “never”. If you do not believe that Jesus and the Father are responsible to keep you from losing your salvation even thru struggling in your old sinful habits, you are making a liar out of Jesus. Either you’re saved, or you are not. However, once saved you’re always saved. If you have a problem to let go of your sinful habit, you are hindering on God’s blessing and you will be under God’s loving correction - called tough-love until you come to realize that your sinful ways were a total waste of time while you could have been bearing fruit instead. I know, didn’t I told you that I share what I needed to learn. The fear of losing your salvation and working to keep it is dead work. That is not good stewardship. If I were you, I would be seriously questioning the gospel that you had received, (2 Tim 2:8). 

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore, everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.  Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life,” John 6:44-47

Not everyone comes to the Father and willingly learn from Him. Especially of those in the Christian religious authority. As it was with the Pharisees, Sadducees and priests who reject Jesus’ authority so it is today from ministries who turn the inerrancy of God words to hermeneutics for profit. Isn’t that what the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the priests were doing, adding to the law for profit (Matt 15:5) - for their personal gain, holding on to dear life their religious statues.

“And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.” Luke 13:30

In this context, Jesus was answering a villager who asked, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” (Luke 13:23). This verse is different than the one in Matthew 20:16 where Jesus mentions “So the last will be first, and the first last.” Most of all the theologians will agree that when studying a verse, a student must take the verse within the context. In this case the context of Luke 17:30 is not about receiving salvation which is equal pay received and agreed with the vineyard master. We recalled that the last workers called late in the day to work in the vineyard were first on the lineup to receive their wages, and the first workers called early in the day were the last to receive their agreed waves, which is salvation.

The wording in Luke 17:30 is very different, let me read it in context;
“And indeed there are last in the chain of command (in a position of authority) who will be first (in the kingdom of God), and there are first in the chain of command (position of authority) who will be the last (in the kingdom of God).”

In verse twenty-four Jesus made the most astounding revelation, the secret on how to receive eternal life; “Strive to enter through the narrow gate.”  That was not a parable, that was an analogy representing the truth… it is Jesus way to remind us that there is only one way, one truth, one life and it is all directed to Jesus Son of God. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).

How do I know that Jesus was talking about the religious authority of His time and the one in the Church era to come, in Luke 13:30? Jesus explained it in verse twenty-five to twenty-seven;

“When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’  then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’  But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.”

Many will relate this comment to be meant toward the Jews at the end of the seven years of Judah trouble who miss out on their salvation.  I view a different version… you be the judge of the accuracy.

In this context wither it took place in the time of Jesus' ministry or today’s ministry, it is all about religious authorities who are saying all the right things to those who having itching ears ( 2 Tim 4:3) for personal gain such as security of employment, yet lost the love of the truth and rejecting the power thereof it. The most prominent theology that is preached nowadays is the prosperity gospel. Ministers heal for money, prophesied for money, cast demons and done many wonders in Jesus name for money. Many ministries produce entertainment with all kinds of music, light shows for a profit.  Jesus explained in Matt 7:15-23 the same concept of Luke 13:30.  They are all a distraction from the truth.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?  Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” Matthew 7:15-23

Why are they not following the example of Peter who heals without asking in return:

“Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk,”” Acts 3:6

What is the end result? Let Jesus explain in Luke 13:28;

“There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.”

Another word for thrust out is obtrude wish means to extrude without warrant or request - it will come as a big surprise. They will realize that they miss out on the rewards, they will become last in the level of authority within the kingdom of God. Probably at the bottom of the pyramid with no authority. (Luke 13:30) describes Jesus warning to those in authority to teach according to His word.

Lets us review what evidence is required to be saved. We all agree that it is through faith alone, by God’s grace alone and Christ alone that we receive salvation, not by works isn’t?

Some will quote (James 2:17) “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead,” as an evidence 0f not being saved, yet, omit to explain what kind of work James was talking about. Are the works defined as being a good steward in the calling in Jesus’ ministry?

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father,” John 14:12

Isn’t faith that produces work and not the other way around, work that produce faith? Work is a by-product of our faith.  As pointed out in 1 Thess 1:3:

“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The works are defined as being a light on the lampstand (Luke 11:33) and of representing the salt of the earth,(Matt 5:13).  The evidence of good works is founded by the rules of good stewardship taught by Jesus.

Since the evidence of our salvation is faith alone, the evidence of our good works will be shown only at the Bema seat of judgement as rewards.

In this book, I will share what I needed to learn most pertaining to the rules of good stewardship... These rules were taught by Jesus to His disciples that were put into writing for our benefit and for our rewards accordingly.

“Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name,” Rev 3:11-12.

Look at the BIG picture: we are to reign with Jesus for eternity. We read in (Ex 13:21-22), that a pillar is the symbol of God righteous authority and leadership. God leads His people Israel through the wilderness as a pillar of fire by night and of cloud by day.  Those who steadfast in obedience to God’s words and instructions, like Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Samuel, the prophets, all the disciples and much more shows a good example of Godly leadership, (Ps 99). They were not born leaders, they were taught and prepared by God for His purpose. They became God’s leaders by many acts of obedience to His instructions. That is our destiny, and our inheritance, to become kings and priests. The Church is a pillar, (1 Tim 3:15). Salvation is only the beginning of a wonderful life of ruling the earth with Jesus for a thousand years followed by an eternal reign in the present of our Father on a New Earth, (Rev 21:1-4)

As it is written:

“and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen,” Rev 1:6.

“And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth,” Rev 5:10.

“Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” James 2:5.

The one thousand years reign with Jesus, King of kings, on earth is only the beginning. Our destiny is to reign over God’s dominion for Eternity. That is the intent of the parable of the unjust steward in the Book of Luke chapter sixteen. It is to prepare our mind now for our inheritance. In Jesus' own words, “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand,” which means set your mind on what is coming.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Makes Yourself Humble Like a Child

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How to Enter the Kingdom of Heaven?

“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."

 Jesus continued by saying, "Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven," Matt 18:2-4

Is there really two conditions to enter the kingdom of heaven. It surely sounds like it according to Jesus. Therefore what about once saved always save without works? Conversion is a decision to believe in the gospel that was past down from the disciple's testimonies of Christ resurrected until now. To become as a little child is a life long growth in the spirit and be rewarded accordingly.

I remember my childhood.  I was carefree.  I never got hungry. My dad with the little salary he made by working on the railroad always managed to put food on the table.  My mom, who absolutely knew little about cooking before marriage, learned to prepare good meals. She became so good at cooking that my friends requested to be invited to my place.  Most of our clothes were second hand, and I didn’t care less because, for me, fashion was not even on my mind.  On the other hand, shoes and running shoes, they were new.  I remember the smell of new leather shoes coming out of the box. 

I hated school.  I preferred to play. I preferred to be outdoors and play with my friends.  Young families mainly populated our small town of less than 250 in population. Therefore, there were many children. There was no organized sport. We just gathered, and then decided what we were going to do. We had black and white TV, with a few channels. Boring, except on Saturday morning, I would watch my favourite comic shows, ‘Mighty Mouse’. Summer vacations were the best.  On the first Saturday of the summer holiday I would have a haircut, ‘the brush cut’ we called it. I loved the feeling of running my hand through my hair.  It was like stinging needles.  Summers were also very hot then as they are today.  Every day was an adventure, discovering new territories. With my friends, we would explore all the surrounding forests. 

We would prepare a small lunch and we would be gone all day.  Building a treehouse was fun. Wherever I went, my dog would accompany me. I have only fond memories of my childhood.

I realize as I am writing this that some of you who are reading this did not have a carefree childhood.  That some have been abused.  Some had to work to help out with family finance. Some were taught young about the law of the jungle. Some can’t imagine what a carefree childhood could be like. So when Jesus said, in this following statement is difficult to grab,

“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."

 Jesus continued by saying, "Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven," Matt 18:2-4.  

This is what I am aiming to become like, to return to, to makes myself humble like a child. You may be surprised by what that means.

Dependence on God

To be humble like a child is to have a carefree attitude. It is to completely depend on God and to enjoy life as He meant for us to be now.  America and Canada, in particular, had been blessed abundantly since its foundation. The constitution of both countries allowed its citizens to live free from oppression, free to choose our destiny, free to make choices out of your life, at least for the majority of us. Humble like a child is about being worried free from all our needs; from the next meal, from the clothes, we are to wear, from the bed we sleep in and the roof that protects us from the weather. As a child, I did not think about any of these things because my mom and dad were looking after me.

But then you will comment that my mom and dad did worry about these things, and I would reply that you are right. They did not understand the will of God.  They were taught, as so many goods Catholics did that God helps those who help themselves. Guess what?  You will not find that teaching in the Bible. What you will find is that God helps those who completely depend on Him (Psalm 18:30), (1Timothy 4:10) just as a child does toward his/her parents, (Matthew 7:11). Secular society has made God so small and so powerless that we as Christians have been influenced by it and now have difficulty to understand the will of God and how to apply it in our lives. I was one of them.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification, (1 Thess 4:3), which means you belong to Him, so that in everything give thanks, (1 Thess 5:18), and that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, (1 Peter 2:15), for you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise, (Hebrews 10:36), therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator, (1 Peter 4:19).  Doing good can only be accomplished by being as humble as a child, depending on God for all things as He had promised to take care of all things, (Matthew 6:33).

Christians convert and accept salvation but some take God's grace for granted and keep being busy in the care of this world (Mark 4:19). I am one of those.   Some go through life trying to figure out why God allows suffering, poverty, despair and not answering prayers?  We are saved from a terrible destiny in an eternal fire called hell by faith alone by grace alone, but we do not live the joy of being free from an oppressive master who is Satan. Jesus is now our new master and Lord.  Salvation is only the beginning of freedom. Jesus wants us to have an abundant life of joy, peace, and good living.  (I am not preaching the false gospel of prosperity)  This is the will of God your sanctification, (1 Thess 4:3).  

He did not create heaven and earth with all its complexity only for us to live a mediocre life in servitude to Satan. All things have been created for us.  It is our sandbox.  Does not a child enjoy the pleasure of playing in a sandbox, building an imaginary house and road?  God created a humongous sandbox call earth for us to enjoy.  God gave you what you have now so that you could share it with others.

It is no secret.  It is only hidden from our eyes.  I thank God for giving me eyes to see the beauty in His creation.  And I thank God for giving me eyes to see the intent for His creation.

Satan motto; ‘they must not believe, they must not see’. Why? If people would see and understand the purpose of God’s creation they would easily accept salvation the free gift of life. It is not only Satan that causes obstruction.  Our sins cause blindness and separate us from our heritage.  That is where the simplicity in the gospel comes in.  Jesus did all the works.  All we have to do is to believe in Him and accept Him as Lord.  He only wants to share all He has with us.  He wants to share His sandbox and all that in it.  He wants to play with us.   Do you understand what it meant to be humble like a child?  To be humble like a child we must totally depend on God.  We must believe Him, we must trust Him, and therefore we must rest in Him.  

God has given you your own little sandbox.  That sandbox is your present condition and circumstance that you are in now.  It is your family environment, your job or no job and even your health condition, good or bad. It is God’s gift to you.  Do you not understand?  It is not what you have that important to God, it is your mindset of what you do with your sandbox.  Humble like a child. When things are not turning out like as it should, what does a child do?  A child makes modification or even starts over again.  A child even keeps on humming a song as he/she is creating/building a castle.  Do you understand what it meant to have a humble spirit as a child?   

Now, what is Jesus meant to say by “The greatest person in the kingdom of heaven is the one who makes himself humble like this child?”  It is about not to worry about making a living to take care of you; it is about a carefree heart and mind, totally depending on God by enjoying the sandbox that God gives.  It is about sharing with others the entire blessing you had received. Carefree is worried free so that you can let Jesus do His work through you, therefore doing good works.

Are you now in financial difficulties due to whatever reason?  Then please read my article titled, “Economic Crises, What are we to do? The answer is ‘REST’.

Example of doing good works

Look at the example of the Macedonians in Chapter 8 and verse 2 of the letter to the Corinthians. “... and now brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God gave the churches in Macedonia. They have been tested by great troubles.  And they are very poor. But they have much because of their great joy.  I can tell you that they gave as much as were able. They gave even more than they could afford.  No one told them to do it.  But they asked us again and again – they begged us to let them share in this service for God’s people.  And they gave in a way that we did not expect:  They first gave themselves to the Lord and to us.  This is what God wants.

So we asked Titus to help you (the Corinthians) finish this special work of grace.  He is the one who started this work.  You are rich in everything – in faith, in speaking, in knowledge, in truly wanting to help, and in the love you learn from us.  And so we want you to be rich also in this gift of giving.”  Paul goes on teaching the Corinthians about sharing their sandbox and everything in it. Have you not witness a parent teaching their children to share their toys?  So what’s the difference here?

An anthropologist proposed a game to African tribe kids. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told them that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run they all took each other’s hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad? UBUNTU in the Xhosa culture means: "I am because we are"

The Macedonians did not give for the sole purpose to receive blessing from God, no, this is the false gospel of prosperity. They gave because of the grace that God gave the churches in Macedonia. They have developed a mind, carefree by trusting God for all things. They understood to give not to receive but because they received first. What they received is God’s promise. They took Jesus by His word. “Seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all these things will be added to you," (Matthew 6:33). Seek to live now as one who makes himself humble like this child. Share your sandbox and all that in it. 

David taught his man that followed him while he was in hiding from King Saul this concept to share with his fellowman.  It became a model for Israel for a long time. You will find the story in Samuel 30. David's two wives, his man's wives, children, and all their belonging including their cattle were taken by the Amalekites.  We pick it up at verse 18 after David defeated the Amalekites:

David got back everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. Nothing was missing. They found all the children and old people, all their sons and daughters, and all their valuables. They got back everything the Amalekites had taken. David brought everything back. He took all the sheep and cattle. His men led these animals to the front of the group and said, “This is David’s prize.”

 David came to the 200 men who had stayed at Besor Ravine. These were the men who were too weak and tired to follow David. They came out to meet him and the soldiers who went with him. They greeted David and his army as they approached. There were some troublemakers in the group who went with David who started complaining, “These 200 men didn’t go with us, so why should we give them any of the things we took. These men get nothing but their own wives and children.”

David answered, “No, my brothers. Don’t do that! Think about what the Lord gave us. He let us defeat the enemy that attacked us. No one will listen to what you say. The share will be the same for the man who stayed with the supplies and for the man who went into battle. Everyone will share alike.” David made this an order and rule for Israel. This rule continues even today.

As of today, shouldn't we also applied this rule so that we could become as humble as a child?

Thursday, 19 September 2019

The Purpose of Your Sanctification

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But First - “What You Need to Know About
The Purpose of Your Sanctification”

You are the Light in Darkness

You really need to know who you are in Christ. You are first His image bearer, created in His image (Genesis 1:26). Once you accept Jesus as your Lord, you received eternal life, then what? That is where many pastors fail to remind their congregation, leaving them in the dark, without purposes of their calling. Are you the Light in the darkness, (Romans 2:19?

“Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going,” John 12:35

Pastors need to teach what Jesus’ preparing us for. Without knowing who we are to motivate us, and the purpose of our fellowship, where can we find the courage and the determination to face everyday challenges of this world? After all, didn’t God instructed us to be holy as He is Holy? (Lev 19:2). These rules of good stewardship which applied to Israel, also it applies to Christians:

‘but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Pet 1:15-16

Immediately after Jesus’ teaching to His disciples on the parable of the lost son mentioned in (Luke 15:11), He went on teaching the parable of the unjust steward. I believe the order Jesus used to link the two parables was significant. At the end of the parable of the lost son, the older brother was angry toward his younger brother who returned after spending his inheritance to usury. What really upset him most is that he finds his father delighted and thankful by preparing a great and magnificent feast to celebrate his brother’s return. Is that the end of Jesus teaching? Not exactly, we learned that the younger son would not be reinstated at the same level of stewardship to his father domain as of his older brother.

And he (the father) said to him (the older son), ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found,” Luke 15:31-32.

“All that I have is yours,” meaning that the older son owns his father’s entire domain. His younger brother would receive none of his father's inheritance. Many Christians have the assumption that God rewards His children equally since He loves us equally. This is not so. God is a God of justice and love. God is NOT a socialist neither a communist. There is no partiality with Him, (Eph 6:9). For example, “if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat, but should work in quietness and eat their own bread,” (2 Thess 3:10,12).

Soon after our resurrection (1 Thess 4:16), we (the believers in Christ resurrection) will all be judged for the choices made throughout our Christian life; the good works made for our Lord and the works that we assumed was God’s will. It’s all going to be judged for rewards or disapproval - all accordingly, (Acts 10:42, 2 Tim 4:1).

“and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away,” 1 Pet 5:4

If you are part of the resurrection of the saints, of those who had heard the testimony of the gospel and believed it – those who sleep or alive at His return (1 Thess 4:14, 5:10), you will take part of the Bema seat of judgement. One by one, standing before our Lord, the books will be open, and Jesus will review our life of service for Him. Reassure yourself, this will not be a review of our sinful behaviour. Our sins have been forgiven, forgotten and remembered no more, (Heb 8:12). Although, our disobedience did hinder our stewardship and consequently our reward.

This judgement is not to be compared with the end-time judgement when all unbelievers will be standing at our Lord throne. All their sins will be reviewed - all their sinful conduct. Understand this, they will not be judged because they’ve sinned but rather because of their unbelief. They will view the list of sins accumulated throughout their life only to realize that all their sins could have been forgiven if only they would have believed and accepted Jesus as their redeemer who took away the sins of the whole world, theirs included, (1 John 2:2). Sad, isn’t?

Now, are we to shine our light within the four walls of the church building only. Nonsense! Here is a comment I wrote in an article titled, “Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms vs the Canadian Human Rights Commission”1

I heard at the opening and closing prayers pastors giving thanks to God for the freedom to worship unaware that God has given them much more than simple right to worship in Canada. I believe that it is God who wrote the constitution for His behalf - for His purpose, not ours. He gave us, not the government the freedom of religion.

The Constitution was founded upon the principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law. Not any gods, but the Christian God – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The God who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life, Jn 3:16. (CONSTITUTION ACT, 1982 PART I). 

The Constitution of Canada was signed by Queen Elizabeth which holds the title of the 'Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England’.

What is the difference between freedom of worship and freedom of religion? The difference is that freedom of worship restricted Christians sphere of influence by living according to their beliefs, ethics and moral standard values within the wall of a building, while the freedom of religion gives Christians the freedom to carry their right to beliefs, ethics and moral standard values everywhere in our society. It is our civil right. Have you not noticed how often we heard from the secular to keep our religion at church? It is a constant attack on our rights. Event Christian among themselves demanded not to mixed religion with politics… go figure.

We have the fundamental right to peaceful assembly in a church environment and the freedom of religion in a social environment, in particular in our school.

In my next blog, I will write about our rewards for being a good steward, (the Light in Darkness) especially the defender of the widows the orphans, the unborn babies, and the oppressed.


Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Edifying the Body of Christ

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A Sign of End-Time Prophecy

As a sign of end-time prophecy, there should be a clear distinction between Christians living in the truth and with the so-called Christians living within a secular humanist philosophy deception.

Zechariah was commissioned by God to encourage the people - the Jews in their unfinished responsibility to rebuild the walls and the Temple after they returned to Jerusalem from 70 years of exile to Babylon. He didn’t use strong words of rebuke, rather encouragement, reminding them that this Temple was representing the coming of their Messiah as prophesied to their fathers. They were not merely constructing a building but also building the future according to the prophetic word of God’s promise of the coming Messiah.

Aren’t the Church commissions do the same - edifying the body of Christ, preparing the bride for Jesus return?  
“Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction” (2 Cor 13:10)
The parable of the tares (Matt 13:24-30) illustrates God’s work through angels the gathering of the tares and the gathering of the wheat as an end time scenario before Jesus returns for His Church.

The tares bundled together for the fire – the seven years tribulation, and the bundles of wheat to be stacks and brought into the barn - an event called the rapture. As a sign of end-time prophecy, there should be a clear distinction between Christians living in the truth and the so-called Christians who live within the humanisdeceptions. Although God knows the heart, the Church will definitely be distinct when Jesus returns for His bride.

 A lesson from the past ignored

Have we learned anything from the example of God’s people Israel?  The theme throughout the Book of Judges was, “Failure through compromise” and the theme found in the Book of Joshua was “Victory through faith.”

How many books have been written, how many commentaries were blogged, and how many sermons have been preached about faith? Is the Church any better than historical Israel when it comes for being in obedience to His commandments? The Church has its moment of victory and its moment of failures. From one generation who has forgotten what it took to be in fellowship with God proceeded by a generation crying out to God to intervene. Is this where the Church of this era is right now, confused, divided and in despair? Many American and Canadian Christians are crying out to God for a revival while many Christians are content with a once a week gathering to worship our Lord since they figure that they still have the right to do so. You wouldn’t believe how many stays at home believers are forsaking the assembly of the saints, (Heb 10:25). Some were rejected for the simple reason that they were smokers, and some because they have a criminal record. Really? Are we inviting only sinless candidates? Revival will not come unless we are willing - the desire to obey and to live by faith according to His instructions. If we don’t, we are no better than the children of Jacob, Israel. Inasmuch God warned Israel and Judah to return to Him and to His covenant, so is Jesus through the Apostle John writing is warning His Church in North America to return as a good and faithful steward of His Word, fulfilling His commission or else, it will be given to another nation.   

“Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent,” Revelation 2:5

Canadian and American Christian Church is not Israel. We do not replace God’s people just because the Jewish authority rejected Jesus. We live under a new covenant (Mark 14:24). We are bondservant by the same rules of stewardship as of the Israelites. The present Canadian multicultural society with its diversity of cultures and religions reflects the same characteristics that existed during the time of Imperialist Rome and Autocratic Babylon.  Nothing is new under the sun (Eccl 1:9).

In the Book of Judges, soon after the settlement of each Israelite tribe in their assigned territory, Israel quickly drifted away from God covenant. In those days there were no kings in Israel, and every man did that which was right in his eyes, (Judges 17:6). Doesn’t that reflect also the North America Christians Churches? Having good intention, each congregation identifying themselves with their own personalized statement of belief - every church denomination doing what is right in its own eyes and so are each individual Christians? Canada and America were once a strong Judeo-Christian influence; it is no more. The Church has lost its salt flavour, and the light on the lampstand has extinguished and the lampstand will soon be relocated. If the Church doesn’t repent by being obedient to Christ Our Lord’s instructions, God will go elsewhere to do His work. It will leave the community desolate of His present and His word.  It did happen with Israel, and it also happens with the city of Ephesus (Rev 2:5). Our modern churches are not exempt.

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God,"That I will send a famine on the land,Not a famine of bread,Nor a thirst for water,But of hearing the words of the Lord," Amos 8:11

The Canadian churches failed the test

In (Judges 3:4), God allowed five lords of the Philistine to be used as a thorn in the side of the children of Israel, (chap. 2:3).  The Canaanites, the Sidonians, the Hivites, Perizzites, and the Jebusites, (verse 5). Why? Verse 4 explained; to test Israel. From what? From their gods who would be used as a snare (Judges 2:2). The snare was used to find out whether they would obey the commandments of God (Judges 3:4), in particular, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3-5). The consequences of being entangled into the snare,  Israel moral and spiritual disobedience would lead to their deportation.

What about Canadian Christians? Have we not been entrapped into the federal multicultural policies - an autocratic snare, and anti-Christian snare, dictating what ought to be taught to our children, overruling the parent cultural and religious practice and belief, for the purpose to unite all cultures, all religious faith unto one philosophy, one ideology, one religion under the ruse of Bahai faith indoctrination and Darwinism evolutionary rhetoric.  We live in a so-called ‘Extreme Bias Multiculturalism and in an Extreme Bias Multi-Gender’ nation. 

We Christians dropped our guard and allow the Canadian federal and provincial leaders to dictate what we are to accept culturally. Both levels of government became autocratic to the core, under the umbrella of political correctness accusing Christian of intolerance bigot and racist when Christian voice their concern. 

“True and pure diversity in a multicultural society is to allow each parent to teach their children their religious beliefs, their values according to their culture and tradition, and to teach their sexual moral standard and behaviour without prejudice and without interference from any level of government. Isn't that what the Charter of Rights and Freedom is all about?”

We are incapable to untangle ourselves from the snare unless we Christians, the just, the righteous one - first repent and live by his/her personal faith, trusting in the Word. Institutions, the government will fail you. But God will never, never fail you.

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned,” Hebrews 6:4-8

What are we to do?  It will be explained in my next blog titled, “But First - “What You Need to Know About The Purpose of Your Sanctification”