Does our righteousness exceed theirs?

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ;

In the days we have left, we must examine ourselves with more resolve, as the day of our Lord draws near. I pray that by God’s grace, I can exhort you to vigilance and self-examination, through the words of our Lord recorded below.

Matthew 5:19,20Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in NO CASE enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The Kingdom of Heaven is what we all look forward to, and these words are a solemn warning given to us regarding our righteousness. The context should make it clear – I believe – that the righteousness referred to here is not the imputed righteousness of Jesus (i.e. our new identity), but rather our attitude toward God’s commandments (i.e. our walk of faith).

The Scribes and Pharisees of our day

To enter the kingdom, our righteousness – our observance of God’s commandments which is done by faith – must exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. The Scribes and Pharisees of our days are none other than many amongst our own selves. We know the scriptures and God’s commandments. We believe in the redeeming power of Jesus’ blood and in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within ourselves. Yet people of other faith – Muslims, Buddists and the likes – and even Atheists and Agnostics often are manifestly more in tune with the commandments of God than us His very Children.

How would we be able to answer for ourselves on that day? While it is true that them, being ignorant of Christ, are relying on their flesh (or idols) for good works, the fact remains that their lifestyles are often a better reflection of what a Christ-centered life should be.

Yes, their righteousness often exceeds ours. What a tragedy! We, who know better. We, who have been redeemed, should be the beacons of this world, the moral compass, the voice of voiceless, the hands of the handicapped, the bearer of the good news, those who points to the Way of Salvation by shinning bright by our lifestyle the very Light of Christ which has been placed in us.

Us, who have been preached the more excellent way, the Way of Faith, should be the bearer of God’s righteous decrees, the embodiment of what it means to love God and our neighbors.

But you see…the Children of Israel were in part guilty of the same…

Romans 2:13-15For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts…

The charge is that many Gentiles, who had not received the law of God were doing the things contained in the law, while Israel, who had received the law and was taught on it, was not.

Let it not be so today my brothers and sisters. For it is the doers, not just the hearers of the truth who will be justified. Your righteousness must exceed the one of your brothers and sisters who hardly display the characters of Christ.

Else, how will you respond on that day, and how will your brethren, the scribes or pharisees, who are in error change their ways?

Matthew 5:16…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

May our Father speak to our hearts. May He use the multitude of His mercies and patience toward us in Jesus-Christ.

The Lord be with you and me.

AMEN.

Examining Ourselves

Dear Readers;

May God, in the multitude of His mercies, and in His love and patience, bless you in abundance, giving you knowledge and discretion concerning His Son Jesus, the One He has appointed to be the mediator between Him and us, that we may have a hope which shall be made evident after this life.

The knowledge of Jesus that God gives, is not a knowledge “about” Jesus”, but the knowledge of Jesus Himself. It is not knowing about Jesus that transforms us, but instead it is knowing Jesus Himself that transforms us. One may know about Jesus and yet be as evil as evil a man can be. But cannot know Jesus and not be progressively changed into the image of Christ Himself.

Yet in the fast-paced, self-help, and self-centered world in which we live, we longer spend time to examine ourselves.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

But, as we see from the verse above, it is through self-examination that one may discover in which camp he falls regarding the faith. Do we know Jesus and are being transformed, or do we know about Jesus and are being deceived, hardly experiencing the transformative change that knowing Him personally affords?

Ephesians 5:15-17Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

The verse above from Ephesians echoes the one in Corinthians, that we have to examine ourselves. And its words have never been truer than they are now…that the days are evil!

All forms of social media, self-help books and seminars, platforms of all kinds where everyone is given center stage to proclaim their wisdom, these are harming us. For God has appointed 24 hours in a day, and more won’t be given.

It is as if we have made camp at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, eating of it and corrupting our minds further in the process. We earnestly seek to learn how the world works so we can thrive in it…and those who have figured out the “secret” of the successful life are held as heroes, being showcased to everyone’s admiration and envy. Yet God said…

James 4:4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Such wisdom, dear friend – the one that seeks to understand how the world works so one can thrive in life – is not the wisdom of God, but the wisdom of the world. It is sensual and devilish.

We ought to pause and examine ourselves.

Where am I in my faith? How is my relationship with Jesus? What does God want from me? As a son, am I doing what I am supposed to be doing to honor my Father? Am I behaving in ways that demonstrates that I am my Father’s son? What does Jesus tell me? Where He is encouraging me? Where is He rebuking me? Am I listening? How often am I talking to Him? And what am I telling Him?

I counsel you in the name of the Lord Jesus, to slow down and examine yourselves; not as the world counsels you to do the same, but as God counsels. That you examine yourselves to see whether you are “in” the faith, knowing Jesus.   

May the Lord be with you and protect you. In Jesus name.

AMEN

Communing with Jesus

To the Saints in Jesus-Christ, grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus, our Lord. I desire to commune with Jesus in greater measure. I desire to discern His voice as clearly as I discern yours. But far too often, His voice seems faint, and sometimes, not even there. I desire to experience Him deeper, beyond simply my imagination or understanding of the scripture. Him I desire as a person, to converse with Him. Him I desire as my Master, my Guide, and the One who invited me and equipped me to work alongside Him.

But it is as if He hardly speaks. It is as if I do not recognize Him, understand Him or even hear Him.

Oh my dear friends, do you too, wish you were close to Jesus? Do you wish His experience in your life was more tangible than it is now? Do you wish He was more real than the One spoken of at Church? Do you wish, like me, that you could feel in greater measure, His presence?

I believe the reason for this very limited experience I have of Him has nothing to do with His love for me, and everything to do with my lukewarm love for Him. Yes, my tongue has run out of words to express how much I love Him, but there also lies my frustration. For it has become abundantly clear that if words are the only thing I have to express my burning love for Him, then long ago have I reached the limit of my love. I have long ago exhausted my vocabulary, and I now painfully realize that if this is all I can give Him, then I am the most miserable among men. For words, unless they are Words of the Holy Spirit Himself, have no value.

There must be more…I want to feel Jesus…there must be more! There has to be more. What is the issue? What is the problem? Why can’t I experience Him that much?

I counsel you to carefully consider the case the Apostle Paul brought before the Corinthians, in the form of two questions

2 Corinthians 6:15-18 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God

Here lies the problem. Christ has no agreement with the devil. None whatsoever. A believer shares nothing with an unbeliever. None whatsoever. The temple of God cannot be used for idols.

YET, we ARE the temple of God. YET, we ARE guilty of placing idols in that temple. We ARE guilty of making deals with Satan while belonging to Christ. When interacting with unbelievers, we are not recognizable as Christians, so much we resemble them.

If you are honest with yourself, you know that at least some of this applies to you. Too comfortable you are with the enemy. We are comfortable with the enemy! But we also desire to experience Christ in greater measure.

This cannot be my friend. This cannot be. And unless we do something about it, our experience of Christ has little hope to go any deeper. We will have to satisfy ourselves with songs, teachings, and far too sporadic and rare experiences of Him, like shooting stars that disappear as fast as they appear.

The solution

2 Corinthians 6:16-18…as God said,
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
17 Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
18 and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”

2 Corinthians 7:1 – Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

The promise is there…the Father says, I will welcome you, I will be a father to you. You will be sons and daughters to me. Now you may say, “I am already a son”, “I am already a daughter”. That is very true! But are you experiencing that relationship to its full extent? Do you feel and experience the closeness of Jesus, or of the Father, as a daughter does with her father? If you are like me, I think not. You may be a son, but you do not know your Father, for you have no relationship with Him.

Let us cleanse ourselves my friend, from everything that defile our body, and from everything that defile our spirit. What do we meditate on, what do we watch, what are our dreams, what activities do we partake in, what are our hobbies?

Unless we are serious about cleansing ourselves, there is no hope of a deeper experience of Jesus. You will not commune with Him. You will not recognize Him. You will not understand Him. You will run out of vocabulary to express your love for Him, and those words will be as empty as words can ever be.

He will not be swayed by our lukewarm love. He will not be swayed by our half-hearted consecration to Him. He will not be fooled when we prostitute ourselves in the dark of night.

2 Timothy 2:12-14 –
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.

Dear Father. Forgive me. Yes, you have given me great and exceeding promises. I know that words are just words unless your Spirit utters them through my mouth. Give me your grace and fly to my rescue. For I have sinned, being too comfortable with the one who seeks to slay me, my enemy, Your enemy! Give me strength, give me strength in the Lord Jesus, to cleanse myself of all these things that I still take pleasure in, but which hurt my experience of Him. In the name of Jesus, I pray, not only for myself, but also my fellow readers. AMEN.

Remembering Who Owns the Churches

Dear Friends;

May the grace, mercy and peace of God, our Father, and of Jesus, our Lord, be with you. Allow me to submit to you by the Lord Jesus that for a church (a community of believers) to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and therefore be healthy, it must not only remember, but also understand that it is Jesus, the AMEN, exalted on the right hand of God, who owns it.

Revelation 1:20As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

In the Book of Revelation, as He spoke to seven of its churches, Jesus reminded them of this very fact, in at least two distinct ways: By declaring that the churches (and its leaders) are in His hand (Rev. 1:20), and by demonstrating in excruciating details just how much He knows about the life of each church. He knows not only the state of your church, but also where it comes from. He knows every single activity that is taking place inside your group, whether in public or in secret. He knows how your church has progressed (or digressed), where it is heading, and what your group must do given its current state.

In fact, NO ONE KNOWS BETTER about the state of a church than His Majesty, our God, and Jesus, our Lord.

Not only remembering, but understanding this fact (that Jesus owns the churches) gives us the most essential ingredient in the life of a church. A CHURCH MUST BE CONNECTED TO JESUS OR IT WILL WITHER.

John 15:4As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

AND TO BE CONNECTED, ITS LEADERS MUST BE EXCLUSIVELY DEDICATED TO PRAYING AND SERVING THE WORD.

In the Book of Acts we find this very practical truth in action. The early church was growing, and growing rapidly. And among the many ministries the church was performing, one of them was to ensure that everyone, among themselves, especially those in need of help like the widows, would receive food, daily. An issue arose as the greek-speaking Jews started to complain that their widows were being neglected.

Please note that the very fact that this church was performing this ministry among themselves speaks volume about the life and love that must have been present among the members! A beauty to behold indeed!

Nevertheless, note how the Apostles handled this matter.

Acts 6:2-42 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.

The twelve Apostles did not say that this ministry was not important. Matter of fact, the instructions they gave to the people to choose seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirt and full of wisdom speaks highly of their position regarding the importance of this matter.

But what was even more important than daily food was the need for them to be continually in prayer and to continually serve the people, the spiritual food, the Word of God. The Apostles understood that NOTHING should come in the way of spending any less time with Jesus. As leaders, they should continually be in prayer. They must devote themselves at the feet of the One who OWNS THAT CHURCH, to receive daily grace, life, and blessings so that they will continuously feed the flock entrusted to them. They must not distract themselves, even with valid matters of the church.

Oh that you will appreciate the wisdom given to the Apostles, for they did not neglect the matter brought before them. But something more important, more valuable, they were instructed never to neglect, no matter the cost, for in them did the very life of the church hanged: Prayer and ministry of the Word.

And perhaps here lies the greatest failure of many of our churches. Our leaders do not understand their most solemn duty, the one duty they must preserve at all cost, to be in prayer, so that they may receive the daily grace they need for themselves and for the people.

If you are a leader, and recognize that these words are TRUE, then repent and assume your duty, as a servant of the LORD who desires to be called faithful.

For those of you who might aspire to be a leader. You desire a good work, but may this letter serve to caution you of your most important, and only duty.

And to all, abide in the Vine, the Lord Jesus in prayer, that His life may flow in you in abundance.

In Jesus Name. AMEN.

The Fear of the Lord

To my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, who, like me, have received the forgiveness of sins, having been washed in the blood of the Lamb, Jesus, the Christ, and our Lord. My friends, there is a subtle, but dangerous sin that has infiltrated the church, that, by the Grace of God, I would like to bring your attention to, so that you may not fall into that snare of the devil. And it has to do with how you see God, and how you see Jesus.

The great evil and foolishness that has infiltrated the church is that we are seeing God less and less as our God, and more and more as our friend. Even more so with Jesus, since He is the One who came down to earth, and took the form of a man. We see Jesus and refer to Him less and less as our Lord and Master, and more and more as our friend.

Now, it is true that a friendship seems more genuine, more loving, and even more affectionate than a God-to-creature or a Master-to-slave relationship. However, allow me to counsel you that this is an extremely slippery slope which often leads to a great sin. It is the reason why NONE of the Apostles ever addressed our Lord Jesus that way, although He, Himself, called them His friends. No! Instead, they always referred to Him as Lord and Master and to themselves as servants or His slaves. And yet, they loved Him deeply! So love and a Master-to-servant relationship are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Matter of fact, this combination is precisely what Christianity is all about.

To be called by a superior a friend is a great honor. But to ever refer to that superior as your friend is pure foolishness and often arrogance. “The President is my friend!” Doesn’t that sound arrogant? Yes it does…because even if it is true, he is first and foremost your President. And your relationship with him is first dictated by that fact…that he is your President. And if you ever forget that fact, you will be reminded of it, whether gently or forcefully!

Now consider that fearing God, having the highest reverence toward God is the foundation of all wisdom and knowledge. Not SOME of it! The fear of the Lord is the foundation of all wisdom and knowledge, and it is God Himself, who gives those things.

Proverbs 1:7The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 2:6…the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

Why would we therefore replace that relationship with friendship and miss on wisdom and knowledge, and be called fools? Reverence does not characterize a friendship relationship. Though friendship emphasizes closeness, it also refers to equality. Reverence is not the hallmark of a friendship. No, quite the opposite! A friendship is a relationship that is often casual, and devoid of protocols. A friendship is where we see each other as equal and therefore the other does not deserve any more respect, any more consideration than I do. Failing to honor your engagement in a friendship relationship does not carry the same severity as failing to do it in a Master-slave or God-creature relationship. Passages like the one below are all over the scriptures to remind us of this most solemn truth. He is OUR God! And Jesus is OUR Lord!

Ecclesiastes 5:1-3Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.

It is a grave sin not to render to God and Jesus the reverence that is due to them.

Matthew 22:21…render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.

Matthew 22:37,38You 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.

Ecclesiastes 5:4,5When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than you should vow and not pay.

As in many things we do which often appear to honor Jesus and yet dishonor Him, so it is when we consider Him less and less as Lord and more and more as friend.

Please dear brethren, let us no longer be guilty of such great a sin. JESUS IS LORD in heaven, and before Him, as men and women who count it the highest honor to be called his faithful servants, we bow.

LORD JESUS, may You receive our worship, and forgive us of this sin. For You are worthy of all Honor, for so it seemed good in the sight of Your Father, OUR God, that You be honored as He is.

In JESUS name. AMEN.

The Cost of False Hope

May the grace and mercy of God, and of His Son Jesus-Christ be upon you, as you read the lines of this letter. Today, allow me to share on the tragedy of relying on a false hope, a lie, which enslaves rather than frees the subject.

John 8:31,32So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

But what freedom was Jesus speaking of? Freedom from Sin, for Sin is a slave master

John 8:34,36Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

False hope finds its origin in a lie. Lie of a better life coming! Lie of a better season in store for you in the upcoming year (Hebrews 13:5, Philippians 4:11). Lie that living in Sin, while not recommended, is still acceptable because of the atoning blood of Jesus (1 John 3:6). Lie that lusting after the nice things of life is in alignment with God’s desire to bless His children with a life that is abundant “in the things the individual desires” (1 Peter 2:2, James 4:1-3). Lie that suffering is not the hallmark of the true Christian Walk (Philippians 1:29).

AND ALL OF THOSE LIES ARE FOUND IN THE MOUTH OF THOSE WHO PROCLAIM TO BE THE SERVANTS OF GOD (2 Peter 2:19).

But consider the following statistics in the United States: 75% of Americans identify themselves as Christians (source). Yet, according to the CDC, the rates of suicide increased by 25% since 1996, representing one of the Top 10 cause of death and it is increasing  (source).  A recent report from Barna concluded that the Gen Z are consumed by personal achievement, are far less family oriented and do not nearly consider religion as central to their identity than older generations (source). And there are many more disturbing facts…

But if we just took the 3 above and loosely place them in a Venn Diagram, there is no denying that those three facts intersect! Many of those who commit suicide must be Christians. Many of those who value personal achievement above everything else must be Christians. Many who value personal achievement, AND will commit suicide ARE Christians!

 

PREACHERS OF THE WORD…WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU SERVANTS OF THE LORD? Those of us who have been entrusted to teach the Gospel, and watch after the flock of God will have to answer to Him, for serving His people a lie rather than the truth. It is the power of sin that overcomes someone to the point of committing suicide. It is the power of sin that leads someone to value their personal ambitions rather than denying self as Christ commanded. Hence, how can we be free unless we are preached the TRUTH?!

Servants, why aren’t you serving the truth!? WHY AREN’T WE SEEING YOU CRYING ON THE PULPIT IN DESPERATION, AS THE PROPHETS OF OLD DID! Where is your urgency! Where is your desperation? Where is your intercession? Why aren’t you pleading with your church to repent? Why…why such a polished appearance, a choreographed service? Where are the tears! WHERE ARE THE TEARS OF ONE WHO IS AFRAID FOR THE FLOCK? Where is the truth, the Truth preached? Why can’t we hear it?

We are afraid to share the TRUTH of the Gospel, the source of true and lasting hope, perhaps for fear of not being loved by the people. For fear that they will no longer come to our Church. For fear that their donations will dwindle and kill our ministry. We promise them a new and better season coming for them, only feeding a hope which sooner (or worse, later) they will realize was based on a lie. We make them believe that they truly understand the scriptures and the grace of God while the fact is clearly the opposite!

PREACH THE WORD, PREACH THE WORD, you servants of the Lord! Every day, you are amassing for yourself the blood of God’s people.

Ezekiel 3:18 – “When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.”

Yes, the individual has his own responsibility, but make no mistake, YOU, servant, will have to answer for your careless act. YOU will have to answer for your selfishness, slackness and hatred of the people! Feeding the flock…feeding the flock…feeding the flock…that is your duty! Would you spare your child vegetables because the child does not like the taste of it! Yet, this is what you are doing, and WORSE with the flock of Jesus!

Matthew 24:45-51“Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. 47 Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; 50 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, 51 and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”.

False hope is a tragedy! You, God’s people who are hearing this message…watch out for those unfaithful servants. Pray for yourself and your brethren! Go on your knees and beg the Father for your souls, that He may open your eyes to understand the scriptures, and send your way servants who are true to Him. For the truth is free for all who ask! Pray to receive the Holy Spirit in greater measure, and you shall know the truth, the source of true Hope, which shall free you from the power of Sin!

In the name above all names! JESUS, the CHRIST. AMEN

I Never Knew You: What Did Jesus Mean?

Dear friends;

May the grace and peace of God our Father, and of Jesus-Christ our Lord, be with you. One of the most famous, albeit controversial statement by Jesus is recorded in Matthew 7:21-23. The objective of this letter is to provide some light, by the grace of God, on what Jesus meant.

Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

In this passage, Jesus gives in no uncertain terms the criteria for entering the Kingdom of Heaven. But if you think that you already know what those criteria (or that criterion) might be, then I plead with you that for a moment, you place that knowledge on the side, and meditate on this passage.

In the passage above, Jesus states that the only people who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven are those who are doing the Will of His Father (verse 22). This is as clear as a statement can ever come. But what is the Will of His Father?

If you look at the context, you will realize that Matthew 7:21-23 comes at the end of a long sermon that Jesus gave, commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount, which started two chapters earlier in Matthew 5:3. From Matthew 5 up to the passage above, Jesus taught the people precisely on the Will of His Father. He then confirmed, in his concluding remarks, that what He taught them is indeed the Will of His Father by stating.

Matthew 7:24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock

One MUST hear the words of Jesus AND do them TO enter the Kingdom BECAUSE what Jesus says IS the Will of His Father. Do you see the link?

Now, Jesus did not stop there in Matthew 7:21-23. He also said “I never knew you”. How are we to understand that statement? I submit to you that the first error one should avoid is to take that statement in isolation. Instead, one should consider the whole statement.

Matthew 7:23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Consider the following: If Jesus professes that He never knew us, then how does He know that we worked iniquity? This paradox alone should tell us that when Jesus tells us that He never knew us, He is not meaning it in the literal sense of the word, and that is, because He clearly indicates that He knows something about us…that we work iniquity. Jesus knows us very well actually, all of us! Those of us who work iniquity are very well known by Jesus indeed.

Therefore, irrespective of whatever experience you’ve had in your life with Him, the only conclusion I believe we can reach is that when Jesus says “I never knew you”, He simply means that He only identifies, He only relates, with those who do NOT work iniquity.

Although He knows everyone – He is Jesus – He only identifies with those who do the Will of His Father. These are who His friends are, these are those He knows and spend time with, and these are those He will gladly present and acknowledge to His Father on that day. 

It should be also noteworthy from the passage that Jesus did not say that those people who made these claims of doing many wonderful works…IN HIS NAME by the way…were lying. No…what disqualify them is that iniquity will be found in them. 

In other words, your good works (even if they are legitimate) do not make up for your evil deeds. Your good works and praise of Jesus are not some credits that you can use as a pass to disobey God. We may infer therefore, that one is prohibited access to the Kingdom of Heaven not because of his lack of good works (although good works are expected), but because iniquity is found in him. One who will be found to be a worker of iniquity, yet who did things in Jesus’ name (as in this passage) will be guilty of attempting to serve two masters, something that Jesus warned about, right here in this sermon.

Matthew 6:24No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

It is a sobering realization that Jesus Himself says that many will be found in that situation, and therefore be denied access to the Kingdom. It is impossible to achieve “balance” between obeying God and serving the flesh.

A balance that makes us a “cool” Christian.

There is no balance with God. The flesh must die. God MUST be honored. The ONLY way to honor God is by obeying Him! Try to be a cool Christian, and you will find yourself denied access to the Kingdom.

Note as well that it is Christians who address Jesus as “Lord”. It is Christianity that acknowledges the Lordship of Jesus. Hence, many “Christians” will be denied access, because they were foolish into thinking that they could serve two masters.

Matthew 7:24,26Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock….26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand

How much more can Jesus warn you, my friend! How much more? When that day comes…where will you be? Let us strive to obey! To OBEY!

May the Lord Jesus work in our hearts, that we may obey His voice, to the Praise and Honor of His Father, the God of Heaven.

In Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Dead Churches: Can The Bones Live?

My fellow brethren;

May the God of all comfort be with you in the name of our Lord Jesus, the Christ. Allow me to exhort you to standup for your “home” church, especially if it is evident that it has gone astray.

Whether you attend a megachurch, a small church of only 50 members or a home church of only 6, there is a bond which exists between you and that community. It is the environment you at one point, may have regarded as your place of spiritual nourishment, your spiritual oasis. But as with many, you might have found out that little of that has materialized. You attend a sermon but still leave empty. You are hungry, and yet not fed. You look around you and the conversations hardly point to Christ and the edification of one another in the body.

If you are among those who are hungry for the Word of God, you may resort to reading some other pastors, or visiting their YouTube channel. To you, Children of the Kingdom who are hungry, to you Brothers and Sisters who are disappointed with your church or your Pastors, allow me to share an exhortation around this question: Can the Bones Live?

God asked this question to Ezekiel, after placing him right in the midst of a valley that was full of dried bones.

Ezekiel 37:1-3The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. 2 And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. 3 And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.”

Later on, God explains to Ezekiel what this all meant. The bones in that context represented the whole house of Israel, dead and in the grave, without hope

Ezekiel 37:11Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’

But before giving the meaning, God told Ezekiel to prophesy unto the bones that they may live!

Ezekiel 37: 3-6And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

And so Ezekiel did as commanded, and life was brought back to the bones…as only the Word of God can! (Ezekiel 37:7-10). The sequence of events is particularly noteworthy: First the bones joined together, each bone to its bone, then the sinews and the flesh came, then the skin. At this point, we had gone from dried bones, to complete human bodies, but still dead. After that, Ezekiel was commanded to prophesy again to the wind, so that those bodies could have breath.

In many respect, those dried bones could be your church, your small home group. Spiritually lifeless! But may I bring to your attention that if you have been granted by God to recognize the true state of your Church, then Grace has been poured on you, and you are called to react. You may look at your church and answer God like Ezekiel…Lord, You know those bones can’t live…my Church is dead and there is no hope!

But my friend, I exhort you to stand before God and choose to intercede for your church, as Ezekiel prophesied to the bones! Can the bones live, God Asked! The answer is YES, YES the bones can live! By the WORD OF GOD and power of the HOLY SPIRIT will the bones live. By them your church will be resurrected, if you will only stand before God!

Ezekiel 37:14I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live

My friend, the life of a church is through the Holy Spirit. Without it, the church is dead. But is there a man or woman in that church who has been granted grace to see the true state of that church, so that he or she may intercede to the Father that that Church may live!

The Lord Jesus, in the Book of Revelation, declared the Church in Sardis DEAD!

Revelation 3:1“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.

Yet, look at the promise He gave them…they can be alive again, as if they were NEVER DEAD!

Revelation 3:5The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.

That is the mercy, the power, the love and the grace of our Lord Jesus, and of His Father. Can the bones live!? Can they live? YES! YES! They can! But Who…WHO shall stand for his people!? WHO will stand for his brethren? WHO will call on the Holy Spirit to return just like Ezekiel prophesied unto the wind? Who will ask for forgiveness for his people? I hope my brethren that you will be one of them!

The Father of light takes no pleasure in His people perishing! You church may be ransacked by demons, spiritually blind, deaf and simply dead. Satan has clearly gotten victory over it and your brethren, to the point that your church has become his favorite playground. But will you, man or woman of God stand like Ezekiel that the Holy Spirit returns and takes back that which is His. Will you stand that God will grant unto your pastor, your friends, your brethren, a repentant heart as in Sardis, that life may be brought back? I pray the Father in Heaven in the Lord Jesus that you will.

CAN THE BONES LIVE?…YES, FATHER, BY YOU, BY YOUR WORD, THEY WILL!

In the name of our Lord Jesus, may His Word stand.

AMEN.

The Word of God as a Daily Fix

Dear friends;

May the grace and peace of God be with you in our Lord Jesus-Christ.

In a time where the Bible is more accessible than it has ever been, where there are hundredths of online devotionals and Bible readying plans, the paradox is that there is very little evidence that our understanding of God’s Will has grown, and that our lives have changed.

Evil is more rampant than it has ever been. Greed has reached fever pitch and there are studies which show a troubling phenomenon: there is no statistical difference in behavior between Christians and non-Christians.

Very strange!

Look at how the Book of Psalms opens:

Psalms 1:1,2 – Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

I submit to you that one of the biggest mistake we make is when we treat the Word of God as a daily fix! Just like a cup of coffee. And unfortunately, the many Christians radios, the Bible plans that ever devise new ways to learn the Bible in ways that will suit YOU, are contributing to this problem.

We read and listen to devotionals, we go through Bible plans, we listen to our favorite Christian radio station, but we do not MEDITATE on those Words! The Word is just a daily fix.

But the blessing comes to those who MEDITATE, those who pause, those who reflect, those who pray before and after reading and hearing, those who ask for spiritual discernment to judge what they read and hear.

And so we found ourselves in a perplexed state…God has made His Word abundantly available…and yet man continues to sink in darkness.

My friend, I exhort you to meditate on the Word of God. Meditate. The Word of God is not your daily fix, for God will not allow His name to be mocked. Do not sing for the sake of singing, read for the sake of reading or listen for the sake of listening. MEDITATE. MEDITATE.

God’s grace has much to offer…today is the time for you and me to seize it.

In the Lord Jesus’ Name.

AMEN