[google-drive-embed url=”https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5hbuLufOqBnbmV0UDBBMENLclE/preview?usp=drivesdk” title=”Behaviors Are Changed By Believing What is Taught..docx” icon=”https://ssl.gstatic.com/docs/doclist/images/icon_10_word_list.png” width=”100%” height=”1200″ style=”embed”]
The Spirit of God was Moving…
Christmas has become a defining day for many. Much of the observances have no reference to the person and purpose of Christ. Easter, has some religious overtones. And there is an attempt to make sacred, some of the observations. Who remembers Pentecost? Who even celebrates it? And some would even ask, “Why celebrate it”? If there are reasons to celebrate Christmas and Easter, we have just as many and even more reasons to celebrate Pentecost.
Jesus stated the role of the Holy Spirit would be to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. Where the Holy Spirit is present, there will be sensitivity to sin, righteousness and judgment both in our communities and in our individual lives. Just a note here: Justice is not a social issue it is a moral issue.
This Sunday, May 15 is Pentecost Sunday. We are celebrating healing and holiness in a special service at 6: p.m. I am convinced that Jesus does not want His church to be without His Spirit. I have been thinking of the way the Lord describes the church that was in Laodicea, (Revelation 3:14-22). The church did not see any need of Jesus, because He was asking permission to come in to their church. They also were saying that they had need of nothing, (3:17). Can you imagine a church without Christ? Can you imagine a church without the Holy Spirit? Can you imagine a Christian without the Holy Spirit?
Jesus stated that apart from Him we can do nothing, John 15:5. Paul states that if a person does not have the Spirit of God such a person does not belong to Christ, (Romans 8:9). The metaphors used to refer to the Holy Spirit makes us know that without Him there is no life: He is the Living Water; The Breath of God; He is Fire; He is the Spirit of life. I desire the Presence of the Spirit; I desire the power of the Spirit; I am determined to live in the Spirit and to walk in the Spirit. I know it is possible to have manifestation without operation. Yes, it is possible, (1 Kings 19:9-12).
I extend an invitation to everyone who truly believes in the Person and work of the Holy Spirit to celebrate the historicity of the Spirit. But more than that, experience His purifying work in your heart and live under the influence… LUI, (Credit Dr. Sam Vassell).
A Faith To Be Understood
I am not sure how many automobiles are in the world. But I would guess they are in the billions. Some persons own multiple vehicles. Most of us who own one look for reliability and comfort. The authorities have stipulated that before we operate a motor vehicle on public roads, we must take and pass some exams to show that we know how to use the roads safely. Despite such measures, thousands of lives are lost yearly as a result of traffic accidents…mostly due to driver’s errors and not mechanical failure. Of the many persons who own and operate a vehicle, only a small percentage actually understand how they work. Most operators only know enough to operate them, and we are happy with that. Actually, I believe some persons are happy just to own one.
It is a similar situation with our bodies. Most of us only know a few basic things about our bodies and how they work. How many of us know how to measure our blood pressure? How many of us know how to measure our glucose level? What about our cholesterol, our hemoglobin, our sodium and the other vital enzymes and chemicals in our bodies? For these we see the physicians. Sure we know how to feed ourselves, take a bath, get dressed, and some of us can fix our hair. We are greatly dependent on others for many necessary things.
Let me mention one more area; money. We know how to work to earn a living. But we do not know how to let the money we earn work for us. So we have investors, stock brokers, bankers and a host of other financial experts that we depend on. We know of some of the thieves who have exploited our ignorance and have swindled the unsuspecting out of millions of dollars. Just about everyone who uses the services of a bank or any financial institutions is at risk to be defrauded, and the internet has made this a lot easier. Some of us have been notified of large purchases that were made from our bank accounts without our permission and knowledge.
So we don’t need to understand how an automobile works to operate or own one; we do not need to know how our bodies work to be happy with ourselves and we surely don’t need to know how to make our money work, we just need to know how to work for it. What about the Faith? Do we need to understand our Faith? Or should we treat it as we do our automobile, our bodies and our money? An individual who does not understand the Faith is quite likely to fall prey to the many wiles of the devil. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus makes us know that it is the person who hears the Gospel and understands it who will be a reproducing believer, Mathew 13:23. Paul asks us to understand what is God’s will, Eph. 5:17. He instructs us to work out our salvation, Philippians 2:12. Jude asks us to earnestly contend for the Faith, Jude 3. Faith in these contexts is referring to the body of truths that we believe, not faith as trust in God. Understanding the Faith takes time and thinking. Yes, it will require that we ask questions, study God’s word; spend time in prayer and spiritual contemplation and be connected to a healthy local fellowship. God’s peace is what surpasses our understanding not the Faith.
One should not confuse a thrill with happiness. Performances can produce a thrill; productions and presentations can boost us and even motivate us. But these are not substitutes for understanding our Faith. Like the operator of an automobile who does not know what a steady red light on the dash means, or the person who does not know that face drooping could be the sign of a stroke, or the investor who has no clue as to how the stock market is influencing his investments, and like the pastor of the church in Laodicea who was wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked but he did not know. In the same way the person who does not understand the Faith will think it is peace and safety but then comes sudden destruction. The Faith is precious. Let us seek to understand it.
He Is Still The Friend Of Sinners
This Sunday, October 25, will be Friends Sunday at our church. On hindsight, every Sunday should be friends’ Sunday at every church. The best expression of friendship one could ever show is concern for another person’s eternal destiny. While we thank you for being present at the regular services and we thank you for your gifts, your salvation is our primary concern. We want each person who enters through the doors of the building to experience personal friendship with Jesus Christ.
During the time of His earthly life, the critics of Jesus labeled Him “friend of sinners”. That label was far more derogatory than what many persons were called who were friends of a black person. The “name callers” intended to hurt Jesus reputation and ministry by calling Him friend of sinners. They never thought that a sinner needed a friend. I am so glad Jesus is a Friend of sinners. And since the church is His, we must be friends of sinners because we are only sinners saved by God’s grace.
This is one of the most fitting titles one could give to Jesus. He has done what no other friend could do and would do. Jesus is that Friend that each of us need. He has come to us; He became like us; He died for us; He is still praying for us; He has promised to come back for us; He even promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
There is no greater joy on earth than knowing that Jesus is a Friend of sinners. I can only introduce Him to you. You will have to experience friendship with Him for yourself. Actually, it was Jesus who said to His disciples, “I no longer call you servants, I call you friends”. But it is a friendship based on our obedience to Him. For He says “you are My friends if you do what I command you”, John 15:14-15. Now is the time to enter into friendship with this great friend. Why? You may ask. Because He is the best Friend anyone could ever have and He is for the present and the eternal future. What a Friend we have in Jesus!!!