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Archive for July, 2011

Powerful People

The last few weeks I have been emphasizing on loving others, for that is the essence of the gospel. But the group of people I am talking about today would be different from who we think we should love. Recently, I was reminded of the greatest commandment,or the 2 greatest commandments:

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Luke 10:27

There are 3 groups of people that Jesus mentioned here; that we need to love. The first is God, there is no doubt about that. The second is our neighbours. Who are our neighbours? Then Jesus continues with the story of the Good Samaritan. Our neighbours are the people around who need help.

The 3rd group of people we need to love is ourselves.

Obviously, we would take without a doubt, that loving our neighbours means well, loving them. Treating them with respect, speaking graciously to them, meeting their needs. And if we are to love our neighbours as such, Jesus assumes that we have first, loved ourselves in that way. Therefore, we love neighbours as we love ourselves.

I was reading this book by Robert Pierson about needs-based evangelism, and he summarizes very neatly as such:
Well that was the best I could do with paint.

With each sermon and Bible study emphasizing on loving God and loving men, I will proceed to talk about loving ourselves.

I believe that once one become a Christian, his mindset must be completely changed. And this usually does not happen in a flash. He must be taught and reaffirmed of his Identity in Christ. If you’ve been a Christian a long time and think you know about this, please do still read on. Many times we forget who we are in Christ, and live lives that are not fully empowered with what Jesus has done for us and given us. I must also say that I am no expert in this; this would be an area that I am lacking in too, but I will do my best to teach what I know is truth.

Firstly, we must acknowledge that we are forgiven for our past, present, and all future sins. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous (1 Peter 3:18). Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-3). When we have sinned, we are not to feel condemned because we have sinned (though we must repent if we know it is sin). We do not have to wait for God to “cool down” to start praying to him again. We can approach the throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:16), knowing that God has forgiven us already. This does not mean that we can keep sinning. But that is a topic for another time.

You know, whenever I take notes during sermons and Bible studies, I will use an asterisk to denote a key point/application. So let’s do that now,

*In Jesus there is no condemnation. We can approach the throne of grace with confidence!

And He said unto me, “My grace is sufficent for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

If you have lived in this world long enough (not that I’m very old), you would come to find that no one is perfect. Each of us have flaws and inequities, and some of these things we cannot change.

But in Christ you have been brought to fullness (Colossians 2:10). In every thing that we are not good enough; every bit of holiness, righteousness, or perfect thought or behavior that we lack, Jesus Christ has it! And because Christ lives in us (Galatians 2:20), he makes up for every flaw, and every weakness that we have. Because when we are weak, then we are strong (in Christ) (2 Corinthans 12:10)We are brought to fullness!

*In Jesus we are made complete and perfect.

One of the first few times I distinctly heard God and experienced Him was when I was 16, about to take some major examinations. I really can’t remember how I was feeling at that time, but I must have been quite stressed. We were singing these lyrics:

“You are the peace that guards my heart, my help in time of need”

And I felt an overwhelming sense of peace come over me. At that point, I knew God was covering me, protecting me, and helping me.

 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

God’s plan for us is perfect; to prosper and not to harm us, to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)Therefore in any and every situation, we can be assured that God is in control. He knows what is going to happen, and makes the best happen for us. Even when we make wrong decisions, He can turn it into good. Because we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).

*In Jesus we have peace that surpasses all understanding

These plans that God has for us, are not just plans for us to live good lives; not to eat well, drink well and then die. They are plans with a purpose. Jesus said “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

We are meant to live lives that are meaningful and have a purpose. God has created each one of us for a special purpose. We all have a unique set of things set out for us to do. Things that will build the body of Christ; things that will encourage, comfort and love; things that reach the lost- we are called to advance the Kingdom of God. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10)

*In Jesus we are created for good works.

In Jesus we are many things, but here are the 4 that I believe are essential for any child of God to know and believe. Perhaps believing in it and experiencing God may not be instantaneous, but let us first know what Christ has made us. When the time comes when our identity in Christ is challenged, we must affirm ourselves with who we are in Christ. We are very a very powerful people indeed.

Now, for every person you meet or know. Believer or non-believer, you know that they are loved by God. God loves them enough to send his Son to die for them, so that there can be no condemnation against them, so that they can be complete and perfect, they can have peace in God, and they can do good works for God.

Let us love our neighbours knowing that.

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