The Kingdom of God and Rigtheousness

THE KINGDOM OF GOD and RIGHTEOUSNESS

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Romans 14:17 – “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

The Kingdom of God is about righteousness, peace and joy, in the Holy Spirit.  It is not just about eating and drinking or anything that we’re deprived with, anything that we could put first in our lives instead of Jesus, not about anything that could compromise our righteousness.

The characteristics of a lifestyle we should have according to (Romans 14:17 )are righteousness in the Holy Spirit; peace in the Holy Spirit;  joy in the Holy Spirit, all three we receive in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The early Church persecution under Emperor Nero endured all things because of their relationship with God with righteousness, peace and joy putting Jesus first among anything else, in fact the early church despised their own lives unto death. (1 Peter 4:12-19; Revelation 12:11)

“The key to understanding real peace, is to understand it comes from putting Jesus first.” – Pastor Brian Burton

The early church were put to death in colosseum and fed to the lions and other wild beasts, but despite that they have endured because of their love to Jesus, they have endured because they have real peace and joy despite of the circumstances.

In our time, we’ll not experience the same exact situation, however we do have our own challenges where we’ll have to weight which to put first, Jesus and his Kingdom or everything else.

Isaiah 54:17 says that a weapon will be fashioned against us by the enemy for sure, no questions about it, but a promise also given that these weapons will not prosper.  The early Christians bodies were destroyed but the price of that is nothing compared to that the world can give.  They received eternal life, and the  Gospel spread to all corners of the earth. No matter what Emperor Nero did, the church kept on growing.  The soldiers were the means of spreading the gospel, because they witnessed things, they witnessed the persecution of the Christians, they witnessed what the Kingdom of God is about through the lives of those believers, and the believers then led by Peter, spoke Peace. (1 Peter 4:17)

“In whatever circumstance, we have to learn to speak peace” -Pastor Brian Burton

TWO THINGS THAT ENABLED EARLY CHRISTIANS TO LIVE LIKE THAT OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD:

1. They have a clear goal worth dying for.
To be persecuted and put to death for the sake of others to enter the Kingdom of God is worth dying for.  Their love for Jesus enabled them to endure and removed all fears. (1 John 4:18)

2. They were ‘In the Holy Spirit’
John 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”

The Holy spirit will guide us into all the Truth and how will it happen? When we are righteous and obedient to God.  He will speak to us and He will disclose to us what is to come.  He will prepare us for tomorrow!

Dare to ask God. God can see ahead and we can’t -Pastor Brian Burton

Righteousness leads to peace, and peace leads to joy, all these by the power of the Holy Spirit in order to see others enter into His Kingdom, His Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.

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Excerpts from Pastor Brian’s Message
Phuket Christian Centre, April 17, 2016
http://www.phuketchristiancentre.org

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Back to the Basics: To Love is to Rest

Love is the rest and satisfaction of the soul.


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It’s a new year and is a good time to reflect on to the past years’ mistakes and lessons learnt.  It’s also a transition opportune time to obey God.  Literally getting up, making things right and actually doing the obvious thing to do because we love God.   Looking at the 10 commandments will be a good start, yet looking at the sum and substance of all of God’s commandments and precepts will be better starting point.

Let us look at Matthew 22:36-40:

36“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.

This is what Jesus’ answer to the young student of law when he asked Jesus ‘which is the greatest commandment in the law?’ Basically, we can’t separate the two to each other, we can’t say that we love God and hate our neighbor… neither the other way.  According to Jesus the second commandment is just like the first one.

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law – Romans 13:10.

Matthew Henry Commentary says that: All the law is fulfilled in one word, and that is, love. See Rom. 13:10. All obedience begins in the affections, and nothing in religion is done right, that is not done there first. Love is the leading affection, which gives law, and gives ground, to the rest; and therefore that, as the main fort, is to be first secured and garrisoned for God. Man is a creature cut out for love; thus therefore is the law written in the heart, that it is a law of love. Love is a short and sweet word; and, if that be the fulfilling of the law, surely the yoke of the command is very easy. Love is the rest and satisfaction of the soul; if we walk in this good old way, we shall find rest.

Do we claim that we love God and yet hate our neighbor?  If so we are being disobedient. (not according to me, that’s according to Jesus himself)  We have no excuse not to love our neighbor and or our enemies, because while we were yet still sinners Christ died for us, He loves us even before… even when  we were yet His enemy.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8.

Blessings and a joyous new year!

And Out Came This Calf

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Image by Phillip Medhurst Bible Illustrations http://bit.ly/1kN1ObD

All sins separate us from God. May it be “small” sins or “big” sins they are all the same, yet in one sense they are different to each other. There is no such small or big sins, all sins separate us from the Most Holy God. It is said in James 2:10 that “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” That means that lying is as same as murdering and lusting is as same as stealing. So what is the point of giving the law then if we can’t measure up anyway? The point of the law God has given to us is to point out that we can’t measure up to His holiness and we need someone to stand in the gap which is Jesus to save us and to intercede for us so we will become Holy in Him; believe in Him and have eternal life (John 3:16).

In what sense sins are different from each other? I am not saying that sins do have degrees of which separates us far or more farther or just a little bit far from God, what is clear is that all of sins separate us from God (Isaiah 59:2). Sins do differ in ramifications. For example if I lie I am not going to be put into jail, however if I murder someone I will be arrested and tried and put to jail, both sins will separate me from the Holy God yet each do have different ramification or consequence. Every sin do have a direct ramifications and indirect repercussions. There will be surely consequences of everything we do, every plan and every action, every sin that we commit.

We can look at King David’s sin of adultery with Bathsheeba as an example of consequences of sin in 2 Samuel 11. Before David committed adultery, he is winning all battles for his Kingdom which started when he was young when he defeated Goliath because Goliath mocked the name of the Lord. Then later in David’s life during his kingship and winning battles after battles, he committed a sin against the Lord by planning to have Bathsheeba who was Uriah’s wife. Uriah was one of David’s most loyal adviser and warrior. David perhaps didn’t think about the repercussion or consequences of his sin that he is trying to commit at that time, yet David’s disobedience brought a very serious impact. Repercussions were defeat after defeat in battles; Uriah one of his loyal warrior died along with other innocent warriors; the baby born out of adultery died; the sword would not depart David’s descendants; his wives and concubine was raped in public by his own son Absalom. ‘A one-night affair harms no one’ that is what the world is saying but that isn’t true… there will be repercussions if not direct ramifications. David should know better, because God gave and entrusted him much and much was expected of him. Does it mean that God does not forgive? God does forgive but that doesn’t mean David will not reap the consequence of his sin.

We believers are not different from David, much is given to us, much will be expected of us (Luke 12:48). It is a great sin that despite that we’ve witnessed God’s grace and goodness and we knew better sometimes we don’t act like it, as if we don’t know or as if we haven’t told that God hates sin. Sometimes we don’t think of what the consequences will be if we commit this sin or that sin. Why is it great sin? David knew that adultery is a sin against the Lord, yet he planned for it with precision despite his knowledge of the law. This is true with all sins not just adultery, and we can’t say to God that “Oh I didn’t know” or “Oh and suddenly a golden calf appeared” (Exodus 32).

Let’s look at what Moses’ brother Aaron excuse when he was confronted by Moses in Exodus 32. The Israelites just freshly came out of Egypt and Moses went up to mount Sinai to receive God’s commandments. While Moses was up on the mountain, simultaneously the Israelites were committing a ‘great sin’ (Exodus 32:21). The Israelites grew tired of waiting for Moses and they asked Aaron to create gods to go before them and that is what Aaron did. Aaron asked the Israelites to ‘throw their golds’ and out of these golds Aaron made an image of a golden calf as their god. This ‘great sinning’ happened just after the Israelite witnessed how God’s power delivered them from Egypt and how God’s mighty hands departed the red sea to save them. This ‘great sinning’ happened while the cloud of glory was still before their eyes covering and protecting them and while they were at the foot of mount Sinai, the holy ground. Why is this a ‘great sin’ because the Israelites knew better, Aaron knew better… for the golden calf to be created it has to be fashioned and planned with precision, it doesn’t just appear out of nowhere. That’s makes it ‘great sin’ on the Israelites because despite of their knowledge and experience of God’s goodness, the Israelites blatantly planned to forsake the Lord and and worship the golden calf instead. What did Aaron replied to Moses in Exodus 32:24?

“So I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.”

Moses could have replied, ‘yeah right a golden calf just happened to come out of the fire by itself’. No! It was planned and fashioned while God’s goodness was before their eyes. What was the repercussions? Moses asked the Israelites “who is on the Lord’s side?” Those who gathered around Moses lived and those who didn’t fell from the sword, that’s the direct ramification for their sin, and later on in Exodus 32:25 God sent a plague to the Israelites as a consequence of their great sin, those who remain because they made the calf, the one that Aaron made.

All sins separate us from God and every sin has consequences, directly and indirectly. The bible compare sin to yeast that causes bread to rise, just like cancer that needs be dealt quickly before it spreads.

The good news is that Our God is a forgiving God, He is faithful and just to forgive us. In fact If we confess our sins, He will remember them no more.

‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ – 1 John 1:9

“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” – Isaiah 43:25

This is God’s grace to us… ‘remembering our sins no more.’ Praise be to the most gracious God! We also have to remember that we must never make God’s forgiving nature a license to do sin. For us believers to say ‘Oh God loves me so much, he will understand and will forgive me, so I will do this sin anyway’… that’s what David and Aaron did, sinning when they knew better. In fact Paul said in Romans 6:1 “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” and in the following verse Paul said “by no means”.

WHOEVER HAS EARS, LET THEM HEAR!

Peace and Blessings to you all!

Eternal Love

By C.H. Spurgeon

Oh! you kind and affectionate hearts, who are not rich in wealth, but who are rich in love—and that is the world’s best wealth—put this golden coin among your silver ones, and it will sanctify them. Get Christ’s love shed abroad in your hearts, and your mother’s love, your daughter’s love, your husband’s love, your wife’s love, will become more sweet than ever. The love of Christ does not cast out the love of relatives, but it sanctifies our loves, and makes them sweeter by far. Remember the love of men and women is very sweet; but all must pass away; and what will you do, if you have no wealth but the wealth that fades, and no love but the love which dies, when death shall come? Oh! To have the love of Christ! You can take that across the river of death with you; you can wear it as your bracelet in heaven, and set it up as a seal upon your hand; for his love is “strong as death and mightier than the grave.”

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Image by Joe Cavazos –  inspiks.com

Genuine Repentance, A Transformation Through Christ

For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem:
“Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD;  remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.” – Jeremiah 4:3-4

Jeremiah calls for repentance under the figure of circumcision. The hard encrustation on their hearts must be cut away. Nothing less than removal of all natural obstacles to the will of God would suffice.  Outward ritual must be replaced by inward reality. The heart was involved because outward worship was valueless unless the inner life was given over to God. Their hearts must be spiritually receptive. The only other alternative to obedience was to experience the fitting wrath of God.

“Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.”  – Deutoronomy 10:16

Wherever there is real sorrow for sin, wherever there is an honest determination by God’s grace to cease from sin; wherever there is a complete change of mind with regard to sin (and that is what repentance means), then we can understand and know that by the grace of God this repentance has been produced by the Spirit of God, and that it is as much a gift of the covenant of grace as ever the pardon which comes with it. And remember, God gives this grace to poor sinners–only to sinners–those in whose hearts He has made to realize their need of it.

It is the grace of God that He uses the Law to show us what we are, and it brings us to Christ.  Yes, law condemns us and it damns us to hell, for we have broken it; therefore it brings us under the wrath of God; but we should praise God for it, because it is by the Law of God that we see, acknowledge, and understand our sinnership, our far distance from God, and our great need of a Saviour (Rom. 3:19-20; 7:7-25). For as Gal. 3:24 tells us, the Law is the schoolmaster that brings us–guides and leads us–to Christ as our only hope.


THE FRUITS OF REPENTANCE

First, the fruits of true Biblical repentance will be seen in our lives in A REAL HATRED FOR SIN AS SIN, and not merely for its consequences, which are: the wrath of God poured out upon every soul which dies outside of Christ, and a separation from God in hell forever. Also, it is not a hatred against this or that sin, but a hatred of all sin, and particularly of the root itself which is self-will.

Second, the fruits of true biblical repentance will be seen in a deep sorrow for sin. 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 reads, “you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation…”

Third, the fruits of true biblical repentance will be seen in a confessing of sin. We read in Proverbs 28:13:

“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper,  but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”

Fourth, the fruits of true Biblical repentance will be seen in an actual turning from sin. In matt. 3:2 the word “repent” means a change of mind about sin. In Matt 21:29 the word “repent” means a change of heart. In Matt.3:8 and in Acts 20:21 it means a change of life, an actual turning from sin to walk in it no more. So we can say again, true repentance is a radical change of mind and heart, a PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION.

Fifth, the fruits of true biblical repentance will be seen in a desire to put into practice the scriptures that teach us to walk in righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:24), and to be careful to maintain good works (Titus 3:8). This, is one of the most distinguishing marks of true biblical repentance: the desire to walk in a different way–a different course of life than we did before.

Sixth, the fruits of true Biblical repentance will be shown in REAL FAITH IN CHRIST. True Biblical repentance cannot be separated from true saving faith; the two always go together. He who truly repents will truly believe, for the same Holy Spirit Who gives us repentance to the acknowledging of our sinful conduct before God, and gives us such a desire to confess it and forsake it with a true godly sorrow, will also turn our eyes upon yon lovely Lord Who died in our place.


TRUE BELIEVER PROGRESS OUT OF THEIR SINS

Where there is spiritual life, there also will be spiritual growth. No Christian can remain the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. A fundamental presupposition of the Christian faith is that there will be growth out of sin into righteousness. Practically speaking, where there is bible study, prayer, witness, and the fellowship of the saints, the Spirit of God will be at work to produce His fruit. That fruit is righteousness.

One cannot say that he is transformed unless he is transformed through Jesus Christ; as much as a Christian cannot say that he is one unless he live a lifestyle that is for Christ and that is Christ like.

Peace & Blessing!

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Expositors Bible Commentary: Frank E. Gaebelein
Biblical Repentance: The Need of This Hour  by L. R. Shelton, Jr
When Should We Meet? by Peacemaker.net
Image by inspiks.com

Dreadful Words No One Will Want To Hear

“Not every one that says “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven. Not all that profess and call themselves Christians shall be saved.”

– Matthew 7:21

Let us take notice of this. It requires far more than most people seem to think necessary, to save a soul. We may be baptized in the name of Christ, and boast confidently of our ecclesiastical privileges. We may possess head-knowledge, and be quite satisfied with our own state. We may even be preachers, and teachers of others, and do “many wonderful works” in connection with our church. But all this time are we practically doing the will of our Father in heaven? Do we truly repent, truly believe on Christ, and live holy and humble lives? If not, in spite of all our privileges and profession, we shall miss heaven at last, and be forever cast away. We shall hear those dreadful words, “I never knew you. Depart from me.”

The day of judgment will reveal strange things. The hopes of many, who were thought great Christians while they lived, will be utterly confounded. The rottenness of their religion will be exposed and put to shame before the whole world. It will then be proved, that to be saved means something more than “making a profession.” We must make a “practice” of our Christianity as well as a “profession.” Let us often think of that great day. Let us often “judge ourselves, that we be not judged,” and condemned by the Lord. Whatever else we are, let us aim at being real, true, and sincere.

A Repost From: bible-daily.org

The Greatest Commandment

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength” (Luke 10:27, Mark 12:30, Matthew 22:37) Why is this the greatest commandment? Because everything else will fall into it’s right place when God is priority number one. If you love your boyfriend/girlfriend more than God; your work more than God, yourself and intellectualism more than God, your money over God; the material things you have over God; the pride and desires of the flesh over God… I have a word for you… It is never too late to turn and deny these idols/desires of the flesh and choose God and make Him priority number 1 and thus requires humility and submission. If you do this, God will give you the rightful person to marry, the rightful job, the genuine wisdom that comes from Above, the joy of the Lord and all other things will fall in their rightful place… take it or leave it.

IF WE OBEY THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT… THEN WHAT?

-Isaiah 58:8-9,11-12

8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’

11 And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.

Peace and Blessing!