Month: November 2020

Doubt and faith

Doubt and faith

Intro: He who is trustworthy with small things is trustworthy with the big things. God gives more to those who receive Him with an uncomplaining heart. Lack of insight, purpose and belief in what we do, makes it difficult for us to please God and walk in His ways. Majority of the time we want to do our own will and not the will of God. True confidence in God allows you to adopt His ways and leave your own. No one can enter the kingdom unless born again. When a person enlists in the army, they are drilled to clear their frame of mind, learn new habits and adopt the teachings of the military in obedience. In the same way, when we adopt Christ’s ways and are baptised we die to sin and come alive in Him. We do away with the old and arise in the new. When you surrender your life you must have 100% belief in Him and His commands.

Genesis 3:1

This scripture is a classic example of how human nature is contrary to that of God. The snake was the most cunning animal the Lord had made however what is striking here, is Eve knew the original instruction, and believed it as truth. She even quoted it. Significantly, when the snake questioned her, it placed doubt in her mind and caused her to deviate from that truth. Let us put this into context. Today, in our minds most of us know and understand the truth. But sometimes we allow certain things to plant doubt in our minds. In Galatians 1:6, Apostle Paul comments on how easy it was for the church to be swayed from the truth. In the same way, many people now let go of principles they once regarded as highly esteemed, simply because their belief has been challenged. Eve knew the truth. She knew what was permissible as well as forbidden. She knew of the consequences and was aware of her conduct. But somehow her belief started to fade when the serpent started to place a seed of doubt in her heart.

What has God said to you? What promise has he made to you? What instruction has He given to you? Ask yourself this, what is it that is coming into your life that is now starting to make you question the truth? Can you recall of a time in your life, when if God spoke, you were quick to be obedient but now this has faded? There are so many teachings that we truly accepted at the beginning of our christian walk. But that conviction and belief is starting to fade. What is diluting your faith? Surely there is something that you have now started to believe contrary to the original truth spoken to you by God. Eve entertained what later resulted in her undoing. We see that in the beginning Adam and Eve used to be able to stand in unashamed confidence and commune with God. Yet, in the end they became aware of their nakedness and shortcomings and hid from God. So indeed something in their lives died as according to the original instruction given to them. Life is moving and times are changing. You must use it wisely and effectively. Do not let any time pass by without doing what God says.

Let us completely believe God in a way that nothing will stand inbetween us and our faith. Even if things are difficult, believe in God because he knows everything. He knows our beginning, our being and our end. He knows when we are stepping into a difficult situation. He wants us to believe in him no matter what. The story of Eve is a classical example of where disobedience is the result a seed of deviation being planted in someone’s heart. Where she allowed someone to speak words in her life that made her question the truth.

My dear brethren, your life is so dear. As it is so dear, make a habit of believing God no matter what comes your way. Believe in God because He is God. Have the conviction in His instruction. Daniel and his companions knew that they could not defile God even when in exile. (Daniel 3). They could have given an excuse and succumbed because they genuinely were in a foreign land, but they chose to stand on the truth. Be a Daniel in your own right. Even if you go through the deepest darkness, do not be afraid. You don’t have to SEE God, but you have to BELIEVE that he is still there with you all the way. You are the one that makes a difference in your own life. Even if charismatic preachers speak to you, it is you that prepares your heart to receive. What makes the difference is you. The word remains constant. It is the state of your heart that determines the outcome. It’s your perception and what you see. No matter how small the instruction, believe in it and obey it. Trust starts with the small things.

Be warned. Sometimes the devil will just put a different perspective on a situation and cause you to see how “beautiful” it is.(Genesis 3:6). Take heed, in the beginning Eve never even noticed the fruit yet after succumbing to the serpent, did she see its beauty. The serpent caused Eve to believe God to be untruthful which led her to sin against Him. Learn to believe in the original instruction. Reject anything that is contrary. Hold on to your belief.

In conclusion, the word of God has authority and must be followed. There is no way we can please God if we fail to acknowledge the authority in His word. If Eve had believed in the authority of the word, she would never have deviated from it. The word of God is final and cannot be disputed. This cannot be changed. God is our shepherd and we have everything we need in Him. He is the one who directs your path. If we become His children, He becomes our God. Be in Christ so that Christ can be in you. God reigns forever. His word is truth and pure. Be aware of underlying beliefs. These influence how we perceive and receive God. If you have an pre existing underlying belief, you may not be able to accept what God says. Therefore surrender everything wholely and fully unto God. Come to Him with an empty heart and Christ will start to live in you.

Belief in God

INTRO: It is easy to go to church routinely, hear the word of God and still come back without absorbing anything. Increasingly, there are certain church cultures immerging that do not have anything to do with the word of God. Not getting absorbed in these cultures is key. Matthew 7:22-23 suggests how many people will be rejected by Jesus, even if they seemingly appeared to live Christian lives. This is because, it is now not uncommon to spend time praying but not actually connecting with God. Therefore, aim to seek God and understand Him for who He truly is. Remember, if we do not do the will of God, we inevitably do the will of the devil.

John 5:37- 46

The serpent was one of the most cunning animals God had made. In Genesis 3, we see how Eve succumbed to its deception and failed to hold steadfast on God’s instruction. Although Eve understood what God had said, she allowed the serpent to dilute her faith. Her belief in God was replaced by doubt in His integrity. You see, in the same way, when we first come to christ we have great zeal and fervour. As time goes on, we start to lose our faith as we allow distractions to manifest in our hearts. We begin to entertain alternative teachings contrary to the truth we first believed. Jesus himself has shown us how we can hold onto our faith. Despite being tested was after 40 days of fasting, He overcame through His unchanging confidence in the word of God. (Matthew 4:1-11). Although the devil used the opportune moment of physical weakness and tried to cause Jesus to sin, Jesus understood the scriptures and applied them in context to His predicament. This emphasises the need to build a solid relationship with God and understanding His word. God remains God, despite any challenges we may face in our lives. Remaining steadfast in our confidence in Him is paramount. Even when we are at our most vulnerable and walking in the deepest darkness (Psalm 23:4), let us not doubt or question God. Look at Job, his faith was so unwavering, God found him to be trustworthy and permitted the devil to tempt him. With that in mind, ask yourself this, what makes you believe in God? Do you believe in the Word of God? When you are able to answer this earnestly, your future actions will be determined.

Through the ages, God has never changed (Hebrew 13:8), so why does our loyalty and faith in Him fade? Here is the conundrum, for us to believe in Jesus and His word, we first must believe in the God who made all this happen. In other words, we cannot believe in the scriptures if we cannot believe the source.

The first barrier we have in maintaining our belief in Christ is the failure to understand the God that has created heaven and earth. How are you going to believe in Jesus, if you do not believe in what is written about him? How are you going to believe the scriptures if you do not believe in the God who created all these. Understanding the origin of our faith allows you to understand Jesus Christ. Therefore, the starting point is the beginning. When God spoke to the children of Israel, he did not start by saying worship me. Instead, he introduced himself as the God of their forefathers and went on to demonstrate His almighty power as they journeyed from Egypt. Again, note that the commandments were not given in Egypt. God intentionally demonstrated His authority first, so that they had confidence in Him before He then gave them His instructions. In your own life, there are things that God has done for you to demonstrate His ability. Outcomes that simply could not have been achieved by meer human hands. This has been done for you to believe that God is God. For us to believe in Jesus and
His mandates, we therefore must believe in God’s authority. Our faith will not be strong unless we believe in Him. If you are unable to attribute the small miracles of life, like waking up in the morning, to God, and acknowledge His doing, we cannot believe in Him. In other words when we believe that God is there, that He is real, then we can start to believe the scripture. John the Baptist’s message was about changing one’s mindset, in order to be able to accept Jesus.

You can be in the church a long time, but fail to believe in Jesus and dwell in His instruction. Is your belief based on what you want or what the bible intends you to believe? A deep understanding of God is what will keep you loyal to Him. What is your belief based on? Is it based on what people say, or is it based on God and scripture. If your trust is in man, then your faith will come to fade in time. If that church brother, sister, or confidante that you rely on, wavered in their faith, would you still remain standing? Take some time to read, meditate and understand the scriptures. If you have the wrong interpretation of scriptures you will not grow. Pray that God reveals himself to you. Let Him inspire you, where others are not. Base your faith not on just going to church, but rather knowing God and what He expects of you.

Read the scripture with the intent to know more about God. Read in faith and let that be mixed with the word so that you can benefit from it. (Hebrew 4:2). As child is eager to learn, easy to accept correction and be directed, so should any christian.

In conclusion, there is a saying, “Do not play, not to lose. But play to win.” A team which plays to not lose, plays in defense and the best outcome is a draw. But a team that plays to win has the victory. Do not be satisfied to just be a passive believer, but be an active Christian. Be careful not to pick and choose scripture, but make full use of the entire word of God.

Belief in God
Discipleship and barriers

Discipleship and barriers

Intro: Ecclesiastes 12:13 states why we were created by God. We are often distracted by the world and forget our calling. We get ourselves entangled in matters that do not concern us. The bible speaks of an analogy of a soldier. A soldier is not permitted to get entangled in civilian matters (2 Timothy 2:4). Likewise let us not get entangled in the matters of this world. Instead let us reveal the Glory of God. We have been tasked to make disciples of all nations. We can only achieve this if we ourselves are true disciples. Discipleship is the command given by God. As it is said, “actions speak louder than words”, so must our conduct precede us. Today’s teaching will be divided into two parts. We will evaluate discipleship through the great commission in part one, then in part two, explore the greatest barrier that prohibits us from accomplishing the task.

PART ONE
Matthew 28:16 – 20 & Mark 16:15 – 20

If a security guard constantly anticipates an intrusion, they remain vigilant and alert. In the same way, as christians, we are urged to always be watchful and refrain from all distraction. Through deliberate focus, nothing can hinder our purpose. God has entrusted each of us with the task of making disciples of all nations and like in any instruction given, there is an expectation of accountability and feedback on our part. As Jesus ascended to heaven, so shall He return. And upon His return a report on what we have done in His name will be expected. Our job is simply to preach the word of God. However, the church of today is sometimes flawed. “Perfect people” are sought after by the church and disregard is given to the imperfect that God wants to make whole again. It is the wretched that need salvation and offen when these people visit congregations they are received with skepticism and judgement. Instead, through our own actions, let’s teach them to understand. Let’s teach them to know God through how we preach the greatness and goodness of God. Remenber, no one can change unless through the power of God. Jesus wants the imperfect in order to give them understanding. If we read the multiple times Jesus healed the sick, He never questioned who they were or what they did. He just healed them and many proceeded to follow Him after receiving their healing. Therefore, let us be mindful of how we conduct ourselves. Many people in most churches become so attached to their denomination in a way that is detrimental to its development. However, remember, the most important thing is to preach Jesus. Give more emphasis on the task of discipleship through your actions. If as a child of God you have come to know the power of God, it is then up to you to teach of that goodness in the hope that someone else may be saved.

Let us not be a barrier or a distraction that hinders the great commission. Pray and desire to be used by God to be instrumental in achieving the task left for us. We are all part of the same body. Jesus promised that He is with us until the end of age. What does this mean to us? It means we have the authority. We have the protection. We have the ability to fulfil the task at hand. In conclusion, as we grow to understand this task, we must in turn demonstrate it. Do not be afraid, for this work is for God and He is with us.

PART TWO.
Matthew 28:16 – 20 & Mark 16:15 – 20
Acts 9 :1 – 19

As established in Part one of today’s teaching, we have all been tasked with the great commission. However there are barriers that hinder us from accomplishing it. This is why the bible urges us to be watchful. If you evaluate the parable of the 10 virgins, (Matthew 25) it is clear to understand that the lesson to be learnt was that of vigilance and preparation. It is of the utmost importance to align yourself with God through prayer and supplication, making full use of every opportunity presented to spend time in God’s presence. Do not be deceived. You can go to church for 20 years but not grow in your spirit. It is no coincidence that the bible states that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:52). Therefore make every effort to develop spiritually. Have your mind constantly renewed so that your growth does not become stagnant. The key to growth is a desire to learn. If you find yourself not seeing the need to learn, then be assured you will not develop any further. There is often a phrase used by many christians, “new level, new devil.” This suggests that at every level of spiritual development, there are challenges to be overcome. It is therefore important to never become complacent but always strive to learn, overcome and grow. Genesis 12 narates how Abraham (at the time he was still known as Abram) was instructed to leave his fathers house. You see, that in itself was an opportunity for an elevation in the spirit. It is what facilitated Abraham’s encounter with God. Remember, his father did not worship God. Meaning that God needed to separate him in order to elevate him. Abraham could not fully experience God while he was still in his fathers household. Therefore the move was instrumental in his blessing because it aligned him with God.

Acts 9 :1 – 19. In this chapter we see that the followers of Jesus were living under persecution. Not from the world but from religious sects. Saul believed in God and knew about Jesus, yet the people he sort to persecute were believers. However, it only took one fateful day to completely transform him. If we have not had a certain revelation, we cannot accomplish the great commission. The biggest barrier to christian’s of today that hinders their ability to be effective disciples of the gospel, is the lack of an encounter with God. This makes us vulnerable to the distractions of this world. Saul had an encounter with God and was changed forever. GOD REVEALED HIMSELF TO HIM. Someone can teach you about God, but if you have not had an encounter or revelation from God, then you will never be effective in his work. You need a specific revelation, personal to you, where God speaks to you in some way. Reading the story about Saul, we see that the revelation was specifically for Saul, even though he was not travelling alone. The people with him heard something but saw nothing. The encounter and revelation was for Saul alone. And when Ananias laid his hands on Saul what appeared to be scales fell from his eyes. In the same way, Saul’s sight was never the same again. His focus was solely on God and the purpose to which he was called. From then on Saul never needed any encouragement, or coercion to do the work of God but he himself became the encouragement and sourse of hope to the believers.

Take time to urnestly pray for an encounter with God. As Abraham aligned himself through obedience to God, find yourself seeking to align yourself with God. Let God reveal Himself to you. Revelation is so personal. Even if a charismatic preacher speaks to you, without God revealing Himself to you, you will not understand your calling. Seek to fully encounter God. It is what deepens your relationship with Him, and understanding of Him. It is only when we start to understand God that His word becomes a miracle to us.

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