RECEIVING SALVATION, CORRECTING INJUSTICE
Luke 19:1-10"Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."" Luke 19:9-10, NIV The whole essence of salvation is not just about reigning with Christ in heaven; it is also about living a new life in Christ in this present world. If salvation has to do with only our life in heaven, then there is no reason to continue living on earth after we get saved. The reason why we still have our physical life after salvation is so that we can live right for God on earth. Zacchaeus was a tax collector and a known sinner. But he got to a point where he discovered that he needed God. So, he did everything he could, even climbing a tree, so that Jesus would see him. It does not matter what your life has been before now, all that matters is that you are willing to open your heart to God. God is willing to forgive your sins and give you a new life. After Zacchaeus encountered Jesus, he corrected his wrong doings and decided to make his path straight by living in the newness of life in Christ. When we become saved, everyone around us must be able to testify to it. We must turn from our old ways and determine to live a new life. We must be willing to correct our wrongs and make amends where necessary. We must become a new person indeed before we can be identified as children of God.
- Birthday Blessing: “A thousand shall fall at thy side… but it shall not come nigh thee”. Psalms 91:7
TEACH THE SOUND WORDS OF CHRIST
1Timothy 6:2b-8“...If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to sound instruction of the Lord Jesus Christ...they are conceited and understand nothing.” 1Timothy 6:2b-4a, NIV We are in a generation where confusion prevails because sound teaching of God’s Word has become seriously scarce. Just like in Timothy’s days, some people now have unhealthy interest in discussions that will bring division rather than those that will edify the body of Christ. Unnecessary conflicts pointing to lack of sound teaching erupt in the body of Christ. All these things are quite similar to the context described in Paul's letter to Timothy. Part of the important message in Paul's letter that seems lost in this generation is the link between godliness and contentment. Many people teach godliness but forget to equally emphasise the fact that we brought nothing into this world and we will take nothing from this world. So all the wealth, riches, fame and other worldly achievements start and end in this world. Against all these confusions and distractions, God is charging us to be committed to teaching the sound Word of God. This implies that you must take your personal study of the Bible seriously. Anywhere you are, insist on the sound teachings of the Bible. The idea may not be popular, it may not be acceptable to the majority, but as a child of God you must not compromise sound teaching. Can God depend on you to promote sound teachings of His word rather than peddle malicious talk?
- Birthday Blessing: “Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies...” Micah 5:9.
TIMOTHY, PAUL’S ENVOY TO THE CHURCHES
1 Thessalonians 3:1-10“But Timothy has just come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love...” 1 Thessalonians 3:6 Jimmie shared a story of how an organisation helped contact Josh, the younger brother he had lost as a baby. Their mother was to serve a long sentence, so she gave Josh up for adoption against the grandparents’ offer of raising the child. This deprived Jimmie of the joy of growing up with Josh. What would he have done without this organisation? Like Jimmie, Paul felt orphaned when he was separated from the Thessalonians. When he could no longer bear the pain of separation he sent Timothy to them. Timothy brought good news about the Thessalonians’ faith and love and Paul was excited to hear from them. How often do you check on believers around you? Many of us worship together but know next to nothing about ourselves. Also, when we have the opportunity to share information about other brethren, what kind of information do we share? Do you concentrate only on the unpleasant ones as you deliberately overlook the report of their progress in faith and love? Remember hearing good news about the brethren is like a medicine for the soul of some persons out there. Will you be that envoy testifying to the growth of the church? More importantly, we are God’s envoy to the world; do your best to share the Good news thereby bringing many sons to glory.
- Birthday Blessing: “I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy you fully...” Joel 2:19.
EPAPHRODITUS, PAUL’S CO-WORKER AND MINISTER
Philippians 2:25-30“But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs.” Philippians 2:25, NIV Kate’s parents asked her to go and help her elder sister whose husband just died. She considered this as an imposition from her parents but went because she loved her sister. Later in life, the children she assisted in raising became very resourceful to her. This brings some lines of Hezekiah Walker’s song to mind: “It is his will that every need be supplied, you are important to me, I need you to survive.” This is perhaps how Apostle Paul and the Philippian church felt about Epaphroditus. They had a mutual sense of belonging which made them miss one another. Paul rightly judged that the church will be glad to see their able ambassador who had served him and the church passionately. What report do you have among brethren? Do you have a good testimony like that of Epaphroditus or are you so self-centred that you care about no other person other than yourself? How well do you represent God and His church in your school and neighbourhood? Paul testified that Epaphoditus risked his life for his sake. Will you also willingly serve others gladly, no matter what it takes?
- Birthday Blessing: “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.” Exodus23:20
I MUST PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS!
Luke 4:38-43"But he said, ‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’" Luke 4:43-44, NIV Sometimes, the selfish nature of man can be evident even when it comes to the things of God. People feel so comfortable with their experiences of God that they no longer care what happens to others. Some even think "Others can perish, as long as I don't." They have forgotten that God's grace is enough to save all, if only we will be willing to share the good news with them. In today's passage, Jesus healed the sick and did a lot of miracles in a city, but when it was time for Him to move to other cities, the people of that city wanted to stop Him. They wanted to customise Jesus and make Him stay in their city. But Jesus understood His calling and knew that His purpose will never be fulfilled by staying in one city. He therefore told them that it was a necessity for Him to preach the good news in other cities. As believers, we have also been given the responsibility of making disciples of the whole world and not just ourselves or our families alone. We must be willing to share the gospel of Christ anywhere we find ourselves. We have been saved to save others and not to hoard the good news. Therefore, we all must proclaim the good news!
- Birthday Blessing: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7