This is the second part of the sermon shared in my church on Saturday. You can click here for the first part

Introduction

“Therefore, having been
  justified by faith, we have
  peace with God through
  our Lord Jesus Christ,
  through whom also we have
  access by faith into this grace
  in which we stand, and rejoice
  in hope of the glory of God. “ – Paul (Rom 5:1-2)

Paul says that we enter into grace by faith and we have hope in the glory of God.  Paul is a man who had suffered much for God but he felt his suffering is worth it for the coming glory far outweighs the temporary suffering he encountered. He once shared with the church in Corinth. 

The Glory That Is To Come

“It is doubtless not profitable for
  me to boast. I will come to visions
  and revelations of the Lord:
 
I know a man in Christ who fourteen
  years ago—whether in the body I
  do not know, or whether out of
  the body I do not know, God knows
  —such a one was caught up to the
   third heaven. “ – Paul (2 Cor 12:1-2)

Paul said that it is pointless for him to boast about himself. He would rather share the about the vision and revelations from the Lord. The man which he was referring to is himself. He was once taken up into heaven. He is unsure if he had physically been brought to heaven or if he encounter a vision . But what was important was written in Verse 4

“how he was caught up into
  Paradise and heard inexpressible
  words, which it is not lawful
  for a man to utter.”- Paul (2 Cor 12:4)

He was taken up into Paradise, it is in the spiritual realm where he heard of things that man cannot describe. When he say it is not lawful for man to utter. Of course it does not mean that he is sinning against God if he said it, but what he saw was glory that cannot be describe using the words of man. It is possible or one to compare and contrast various sites and scenes on earth. There may be places which we use to regard as beautiful. But if we come across another site, perhaps you can make a comparison and describe the difference using words.

But nothing on earth could compare to the paradise that Paul had seen, it is so indescribable which is why no man could utter a word to describe it. Paul was taken up to the heavens and he saw glory that cannot be compared with any place on earth. In the same way we have brethren who had seen heaven in vision and when their vision had finished, and we asked them how beautiful heaven is. But they were unable to describe it in words.

Glory In Tribulation

Paul was given the privilege to enter heaven and to see the glory that is to come. It is so glorious that nothing on earth can describe it. If we want to enter this glory, we would need to enter the grace of God through faith. After that we need to work hard to spiritual nurture ourselves in order to receive this glory. After we believe in the Lord, we will encounter trials in our faith. Paul once talk about tribulations in Rom 5:3 

“And not only that, but we
  also glory in tribulations,
  knowing that tribulation
  produces perseverance,
  and perseverance, character;
  and character, hope.” – Paul (Rom 5:3-4)

In order to allow us to enter into that glory we need to go through trials and tribulations. That is why we need to be vigilant when we are suffering in difficulties. For nothing on earth can describe that glory that is awaiting for us in heaven. If our sufferings on earth can be use to exchange for this glory. This exchange will definitely be worth it. For these tribulation can allow us to remain strong in faith. 

We need to be strong in the midst of tribulation for it will give us patience, through this patience we will learn perseverance. If we do not go through tribulation how would perseverance be produced? Without perseverance how could one endure in his faith till the end. If we do not endure to the end, we will be destroyed.

Trials Creates Perseverance

If we endure and persevere in faith, it that endurance is a proof that our faith is real.  If our faith is real we would be just like the Roly-Poly toy. It would never tumble because of its low centre of gravity, the more you try to stumble the doll the more it would come back up. The anchor of our faith is Jesus, he is our rock and the centre of our faith. He is our base with a strong weight. It is because of this faith in Jesus, we could turn tribulation into perseverance.

Without tribulation we would not know our areas of faith that needs improvement. That is why God allow us to meet with trials so that our faith will grow. A faith that could grow will create within us hope. In life we often say that practice makes perfect. If we do not use a skill often, we would not be able to retain the same level of competency. For example, if we drive a few times in a year, we will sometimes make mistakes at the wheel for we are unfamiliar with driving.  the more we drive, the more skilful we become. Eventually the driving will become second nature to us, inbuilt into our character.

How Perseverance Creates  Character, and Character Creates Hope

This is what Paul meant by Perseverance creates character. In our lives we learn to rely on God to be victorious in tribulations. Over time these victories will create perseverance.   Just like an Athlete who practiced often  in order to compete with their opponents. They are able to respond to their opponents move no matter how fast they may be. In order to develop such reflexes thy need to practice for long hours. The same applies when we persevere in trials and it will create the character within us. 

From character comes hope. Whenever we face tribulation and we overcome them by relying on God. From these experiences  we learnt to rely on God and that God  will opens a way of escape during the trial. Perhaps there are certain trials that we cannot avoid, but because of our reliance in God. We experience deliverance from God.  Over time our reliance become our hope whenever we face trials. ‘

Hope that is created out from our character is not a theoretical understanding of how to rely on God. But it is build from our practical experience after going through many tribulation. That is why whenever tribulation arrive, we would rely on God and hope that God will open a way of escape.

This is a hope that is not built base on theory but from your own experience in Christ.

The Source Of Hope, The Holy Spirit

Paul continue his sharing saying

“Now hope does not disappoint,
  because the love of God has been
  poured out in our hearts by the
  Holy Spirit who was given to us.”- Paul (Rom 5:5)

Here Paul tells us that this hope does not disappoint. Do we know of occasions where hope does disappoint?  Hope can be disappointment when what we expect from God did not happen. When everything in life turn against you and those who hurt you ridicule you asking “You claim that your God is so great and powerful, why did he not save you from your troubles?”  That is when we find disappointment in faith.

In the church there are many brethren who experience trials in faith. As long as they do not let go of their faith, their hope eventually does not disappoint. There are members who had unbelievers in their family. When they are stuck with illness, their family members mock them saying “You say that your God is so wonderful, why did he not save you from your illness? isn’t Jesus the best physician around?” But from our testimonies we hear of our brethren undergoing trials and how they feel that there was no way out. But God did not bring their hope to disappointment.   

A Personal Testimony From The Preacher

The preacher shared that during the period in the 80s when he was a student in Singapore. There was a riot in his hometown in Sabah. the rioters were burning shops and overturning vehicles. The rioters were looting and destroying the area near his fathers shop.  It was the grace of God that preserved his family, where in only the row of shop houses where his father shop was not set on fire. In that incident, all the buildings around were burnt and many of the shops are destroyed. But strangely their row of shop house were spared. When they came out after the rioters had left. They notice that the cars around the shop were all overturned and petrol was leaking out of the cars. But the shop did not caught fire. For his mother was in the shop, she was unable to escape on time, so out of desperation, she closed the shutters and hid in the shop. All she could is to pray.

She was the only believer around, according to her, there were other non Christians in the shop, whoever who tried to run risk being mugged and robbed.  Even though his mothers faith was not strong, but she relied on God and she prayed. Later on when the the rioters left, the police started to check on any survivors. When his mother left the shop she notice that everything around them were burnt.

Trials And The Building Of Faith

Sometimes God allow us to encounter trouble so that we can learn to keep our faith.  It is through trials and tribulation we can experience God.  As long as we do not lose faith our hope would not be disappointed. In another words God will let us experience his salvation no matter what trouble we encounter. It is through these experiences  we will experience God. These experience will give us hope so that when we encounter the similar situation again we will believe and rely on God. That will help us to overcome the trials that are before us.

During the Israelites 40 years of wandering of the wilderness, they encountered both Marah (BItterness) and Elim (Comfort) along the way, but they are mere stops along the way onto Canaan. Job experience a similar experience, but at the end of his trials God blessed him. The bible concluded his story by saying

And the Lord restored Job’s losses
 
when he prayed for his friends.
  Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as
  much as he had before.”- Job ( job 42:10 )

The bible tells us that Job met with much troubles during his trials. God tested him and allowed him to lose all his processions within a day. And later on God struck Job with illness so much so as he had sores all over his body. Job 42 records the end of the trials, at the end God gave him all that he had loss and blessed Job twice as much. This is the mercy of God to Job.

From here we know that no situation in life is permanent, God will change the situation around us. Whenever we encounter trouble we need to have the hope that Job had. Eventually God will change the situation and give us more blessing. If we compared Job procession in Job 42 verses what he had in Job 1, you will realised that he got back double of everything,

Love Poured Out To Our Heart By the Holy Spirit 

The latter part of Rom 5:5 tells us that the love of God was poured out to us through the Holy Spirit given to us by God. God did not give us trial for the sake of destroying us. It is meant to build us up and establish our faith. He allow us to encounter trouble and difficulty in order for us to grow.

If a flower is place constantly in the greenhouse, they will not be able to withstand the storms outside. For these plants are too well taken care of. A flower from the greenhouse may appear strong and sturdy but if we were to plant them in the wild, they may just die and wither away. The wild flowers are as strong as the trees in the wild. They  may not look tall but their roots are deep underground. They are able to withstand the strong winds and will not be uprooted easily.

From here we know that the stronger the winds the deeper the roots. As far as Christian life is concern, an easy life would not produce a deep root. Therefore God allow trials to come so that we will be deeply rooted in him . We remain rooted because the Holy Spirit was had poured out the love of God within us. The trials from God are meant to build us up and not harm us.  He will give us trails based on our degree of faith.  Those whoa re stronger will meet with greater test while those who are weaker will meet with a small test. As long as we believe in his love we will grow in faith at our own pace.

Conclusion

Rom 5:1-5 teaches us how is one justified by faith.  Baptism allowed us to access the grace of God through faith, after our baptism, we must undergo trials to help us be established in the grace in which we stand. Trials and tribulation can grow our faith and build up the hope of God within us. This hope does not disappoint, when hope is perfected it produces perseverance, and from perseverance comes character and from character come a stronger hope. God will use trials and tribulation to train us up in faith, they can come from within and outside the church.

Therefore when we encounter trials let us not doubt the love of God.  As long as one does not doubt the love of God, he will not be disappointed and God will lead him to a higher ground and bless him as he continue to grow in his love.

This is the sermon shared in my church on Saturday.

“Therefore, having been
  justified by faith, we have
  peace with God through
  our Lord Jesus Christ,
  through whom also we have
  access by faith into this grace
  in which we stand, and rejoice
  in hope of the glory of God. “ – Paul (Rom 5:1-2)

Paul was talking about justification of faith in the book of Romans From Rom 1:17 onwards, Paul was talking about how the righteousness of God is revealed through the gospel. In the gospel, the righteous shall live by faith. The main theme of the book of Romans is justification by faith. Paul shared in great details how is one justified by faith.

Understanding Justification By Faith

in the days of Paul there are 2 ways for one to be justified before God. One is through the keeping of the Law of Moses while the other is to be justified by faith in Christ. In Rom 5:1 Paul was talking about Christians being justified by faith. Most of the Christian churches believe that justification by faith happens when one believe in Jesus. But we believe that justification by faith happens at the point of Baptism .

For Paul once told the Church in Corinth

And such were some of you.
  But you were washed, but you
  were sanctified, but you were
  justified in the name of the
  Lord Jesus and by the Spirit
  of our God.” – Paul (1 Cor 6:11)

In the earlier verses (1 Cor 6:9-10) Paul was describing the lives of the Corinthians before their conversation to Christianity. How they used to be fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers and extortioners. They used to live in sin,  but after their baptism they were cleanse and justified. For baptism washes away their sin, that is why they are justified before God.

Baptism is effective for it is done in the name of Jesus and with the witness of the Holy Spirit.

When we are baptised, we are immersed into the waters, but it is the presence of the Holy Spirit that bear testimony that this baptism is effective. It is at baptism where our sins were washed away and we are sanctified and justified before God.  But Christians ought to understand that there are two types of sanctification.  These two types of sanctification can be seen in Paul’s salutation to the Corinthians

“To the church of God which is at Corinth,
  to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus,
  called to be saints
, with all who in every
  place call on the name of Jesus Christ
  our Lord, both theirs and ours” – Paul (1 Cor:1:2)

There are those who are sanctified in Jesus Christ, these are the members who had received baptism and have put on Christ. They have their sins forgiven and are called the sons of God. But these are also people who are called to be saints. After baptism, we need to pursue sanctification in our lives. Our sins are forgiven during baptism, but after our baptism, we must strive to remain sanctified. In another words, we must live a life separate from the world and to spiritually cultivate ourselves. That is what it mean to be called to be saints.

When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, he addressed the Corinthians as  people sanctified in Christ and called to be saints.  These are two aspect of sanctification that we need to pursue. The Corinthians were sanctified by the blood of Christ at baptism, but they did not respond to the call of being saints. For when Paul wrote the letter to them, they were weak and there were divisions among them. They were drunk during Holy Communion and they bear grudges among themselves so much so that they sued their own brethren in court. They have not responded well to the calling to be saints, so therefore Paul wrote to them encouraging them to be sanctified before Christ.  He wanted their conduct to be compatible with the gospel of faith which they have received from him.

Paul reminded then in 1 Cor 6:11 that they were sanctified by the blood of Christ during baptism. They are justified in their status, they are now children of God. But this sanctification does not necessarily change their conduct.  So when does one conduct justified? John wrote in his book of 1 John

“Little children, let no one
  deceive you. He who practices
  righteousness is righteous, 
  just as He is righteous.” – John (1 Jn 3:7)

Those who do righteousness have good conduct. Indeed when one arise from the water during baptism are justified before God, but how can they continue to be justified? They need to continue do righteousness.

Understanding Peace With God

In Rom 5:1, Paul describe  those who are justified by faith have peace with God though Jesus. What does he mean? Before our conversion, we were separated with God because of sin. We were his enemies.  God is holy and no sinner can come to God directly. But when a Christian believed in Christ and are baptised. They are  justified by God, they have a change of status. They changed from being a sinner to one justified before God. As they are justified by the blood of Jesus,they can come before God and draw near to him.  They can overcome sin by relying in Jesus and they can enter heaven.

Gaining Access To The Grace Of God  By Faith

That is what Paul meant by those who are justified by faith are able to gain access by faith. Today Christian receive baptism by their faith in Jesus, this allow them access into the grace of God. When Paul talk about gaining access to grace, he is telling us not to stay put at the point of baptism. For the righteous must live by faith, it is only though faith we can access the grace of God. A Christian life in the grace of God begins at baptism when he decide to acknowledge his sin and to follow the instruction of Jesus to be baptised. After that he must continue to deeper into the grace of God by faith.

Those who have faith  are able to access the grace of God easily. He is able to access regardless of his education level or social status. One may be highly educated but he may not see the grace of God. Interestingly,   a normal man may be able to understand it better.  In our church we have natives who live among the hill tribes that had little access to TV, civilisation and internet, but they are able to understand the grace of God.  Those with faith can understand the grace of God even if they are illiterate and without much knowledge. A person may be illiterate but if he hear the words of Jesus and believe by faith he is able to receive the grace of God.

We use to have a sister who cannot read at all. In the church we often write the instruction to pray in a banner. The opening  words are written in red while the rest of the words are  in blue. Usually the preacher will instruct the congregation saying “Repeat the red line follow by the blue line”. So this sister followed that instruction with faith, she prayed by saying “Repeat the red line follow by the blue line”. As she prayed she ended up speaking in tongues. Eventually the church taught her more regarding prayers and faith. The more she understands the more experience she receive.  Her faith grew and she was eventually baptised. It continues to move her even today.

The Grace In Which We We Stand

Rom 5:2 Tells us that those with faith will access the grace in which we stand. It begins at baptism and baptism is the beginning of this relationship with God. How can one continue in this relationship? He need to enter into this grace by accessing it through faith. Perhaps we may not start off with a good faith initially, there may be some of us who started with a weak faith, but we need to continue in this faith and grow in it. Then we can be preserved in the grace of God.

At the point of baptism, we are justified in status, but our conduct have not match up to the standard set by God. Even though we are far from his standard, but we have taken the first step and entered into the grace of God through faith. If we continue o stand in grace, our faith will grow in grace. Gods had high demand for us, we must be perfect just as our heavenly father is perfect.

Since we have entered this grace, we need to pursue perfection from our imperfection. Our faith need to be progressive. We need to strive to improve continuously until we reach all of God requirement for us. As we strive to meet God standards, we will receive both spiritual and physical blessing and the more we experience in this faith the more joy we receive.

Rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Eventually this joy will develop into hope. For the more experience we have with God the stronger our joy and hope becomes.  Then we will hope in his glory. After gaining access to the grace of God by faith, we need to continue to stand in this grace and the more we experience God the more we will rejoice when we experience God working in our life. This joy will turn into hope, this is a hope of the coming glory of God that we will receive at the end.

Our hope is related to the grace we receive, if we lose hope we will lose the grace that God had given to us. In order to maintain this grace in which we stand, we need to spiritually nurture ourselves, to come for service often, to offer to take part in the holy work. This hope will help us overcome problems and difficulty, we will be able to hold on to this hope. For Paul once shared with the church in Rome.

“For I consider that the
  sufferings of this present
  time are not worthy to be
  compared
with the glory
  which shall be revealed in us” – Paul (Rom 8:18)

Paul was a man who suffered for Go, he  was often whipped and tortured . He was eventually sentenced to death by Emperor Nero. Paul wrote the book of Romans, he tells us that no matter what suffering he encountered, they cannot compare to the coming glory that God had revealed to him. For he knows that the coming glory outweighs the suffering he encountered.

We all desire good achievements in life and  we are willing to work hard for a good result in life. We know that we need to go to a good school to put in effort to start and prepare ourselves for the test. In order to get to a good university, we are even willing to sacrifice our rest days in order to achieve a good result. Similarly a farmer is willing to work hard in his field for he hope to receive a good harvest. There is no free lunch on earth, we need to pay the price in order to get the good result.

Conclusion So Far

Paul wanted to achieve that glory that is to come, therefore he put in his effort with his relationship with god. He had entered into grace through faith and he works hard to stand in his grace in order to achieve that glory that is to come.

In the same way, we need to move forward in faith, different Christian move forward at different speeds. Some can sprint quickly while others run slowly as if in a marathon. But  what we need to know is that faith must not be stagnant, we must move forward as our goal is in the glory to come.

There was a sister who had believed in Jesus for more than 20 years. But her faith remain stagnant, she had no learnt to rely on God and she kept working day and night and have no advancement in faith. So God shown her a dream to help her understand her problem. In her dream she saw herself carrying her daughter in her arms as if she first came to church 20 years ago. She entered the place and she saw an examination hall, she was going for an exam and her husband is seated on a table nearby. When the invigilator pass her the papers, she read the question and was unable to answer. So she look on her husband to see how he was faring. Her husband simply told her to write anything on the answer sheet and hand up your papers.  But the sister was afraid so she handed a blank answer sheet to the invigilator.

When the invigilator saw it, he commented “This is a simple question even a kid can answer it.” She was unable to recall the test subject, but she distinctly remember the invigilator saying “Why did you not rely on Jesus but solely relied on yourself?”

When she awoke, she thought of the comment and she remembered that she had followed Jesus for 20 years. She still saw herself carrying her daughter for she was stagnant in faith, her faith is exactly the same as 20 years ago when she carried her daughter to church. Even though she entered into the grace through baptism but her faith remained stagnant and there was no progress. Therefore she was reminded by God.

In the same way, we have entered by faith into this grace. As long as we are living we need to stand in this grace and grow in joy and hope. For this hope tells us for the glory that we will receive. In order to attain this hope we need to seek to improve our faith. It doesn’t matter how fast or how slow we walk, but we need to seek perfection in faith. So that eventually we will receive this greater glory that God had destined for us.

Introduction

In our previous post, we have looked at two metaphors that describe the word of God.

In Part 1: The word of God is like Fire and Hammer

Let us continue our next metaphor

Word Of God Is Like A Mirror

“For if anyone is a hearer of the word
  and not a doer, he is like a man
  observing his natural face in a mirror;
  for he observes himself, goes away,
  and immediately forgets what kind of
  man he was. But he who looks into the
  perfect law of liberty and continues in it,
  and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of
  the work, this one will be blessed in what
  he does.” – James (Jas 1:23-25)

Here Elder James describes the word of God like a mirror. A man can never see himself, that is why we have mirrors. The purpose of the mirror is to show us our reflection. The mirror will reflect how we look accurately.  If the mirror does not produce a good reflection  we cannot push the blame to the mirror.

Likewise the Word of God is like a mirror, it reveals our true character.  It reflected our weakness and the ugliness that is within us. When we look at this reflection of our weakness and ugliness, should we be angry with the mirror?  Will we choose to get up and walk away from it?

Whenever we observe our reflection on the mirror, if we notice that our hair is messy or dirt on our faces. We would comb our hair and clean our faces. Though some may decide to clean the mirror for they think that it was the mirror that was dirty. It would be bad to choose to ignore it and walk away.

If our face is dirty, can we blame the mirror for reflecting the dirt? Sadly this is the attitude of some Christians whenever they gather to listen to the word of God.  They would rather wish that the mirror to be quiet and not point out their mistakes. What is worst is when they push the blame to the mirror for being dirty. 

The “Holy” Bible

Once an atheist asked “Why is the bible called the Holy Bible when it records of so many unholy things?”

Indeed there were stories of rape, incest, murder and genocide within the records of the scripture.  There are also stories that are scandalous and could ruin the reputation of Kings. For the bible recorded how King David peeped at Bathsheba bathing and how it led him to become an adulterer, a murderer as well as a covetous man who lusted for his subordinate’s wife. 

That is why many atheist insist that the bible is an evil book and is not fit to be called the Holy Bible.

But how should we react to such criticism? We know from James that the word of God is like a mirror. It is able to reflect our sin, our pettiness and ugliness within our heart. It testifies of evil that is around us. Only a mirror that is clean could show our reflection faithfully. It would be ironic not to notice the dirt on our faces and to clean the mirror instead.

Indeed there are many books and chronicles that beautify and glorify things that are evil and dirty. They hide the ugliness of man so that no one can see it. This is why they cannot be a true mirror , only the word of God is a mirror.  If we observe the reflection carefully we will know that it is talking about us. 

The reason for the bible to keep such record is to tell us a few things. Firstly it allow us to re-examine ourselves to see if we need to repent.  Secondly it is a record telling us that no an could remain righteous by their own power. Which is why God need to intervene in order to save man from sin.

The Mirror That Reveals The Ugliness Of Men

Interestingly, both western and eastern culture contained stories and folklore regarding magic mirrors.

Among the Chinese legend, there was a mirror that is able to revealed goblins who disguised themselves as humans.The Chinese called it 照妖镜 (zhào​ yāo​ jìng)​. The term is now used to describe the ability to see through a conspiracy.

But in that legend. The mirror is able to reveal the true reflection of the demons even if he is disguised as a common man.  In the same way, the word of God is able to discern if we are good or evil. Jesus once used the word of God to reflect the ugliness and hypocrisy of the Pharisees of his days. 

(Extracted from Jn 8:40-44 )

Jesus : “But now you seek to kill Me, a Man 
                who has told you the truth which I
                heard from God. Abraham did not 
                do this. You do the deeds of your father.”

Pharisees : “We were not born of fornication;
                          we have one Father—God.”

Jesus :   “If God were your Father, you
                  would love Me, for I proceeded
                  forth and came from God; nor have 
                  I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 
                 Why do you not understand My speech?
                 Because you are not able to listen to My word.

                 You are of your father the devil, and the
                 desires of your father you want to do. 
                 He was a murderer from the beginning,
                 and does not stand in the truth, because
                 there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie,
                 he speaks from his own resources,
                 for he is a liar and the father of it”

The Pharisees appear to be God fearing before everyone, but when Jesus uses the truth as a mirror on them. The mirror reflected that they were not of God but were of the devil. For their thoughts and their actions are similar to the devil, who is the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning . When Jesus told them the truth, they wanted to kill him.

The Pharisees understood the truth spoken by Jesus and they are unable to accept it, when the words of Christ reflected the fault that is in their hearts . They wanted to silence Jesus by killing him. For no one dares to speak against the Pharisees so far. The truth reflected the ugliness within their hearts .

The Mirror That Reveals What Is Beauty In The Eyes Of God

In the west there mentioned another magic mirror. This mirror tells us who is the prettiest in the land. The queen  who stood before it often ask “Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?"

The mirror will always reply "My queen, you are the fairest in the land." The answer remain constant until the day Snow White was born. This time the mirror replied “My queen, you are the fairest here so true. But Snow White is a thousand times more beautiful than you.” The queen was unable to accept the truth.

The word of God is like a mirror, it reflected what is beautiful in the eyes of God. In real life, we often use the mirror to help us groom ourselves and to make ourselves look presentable. But sometimes beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

But have we wonder what is beautiful in the eyes of God? That is the beauty we ought to pursue after. Sometimes we feel that God is unfair, for he had made some beautiful and some less beautiful. Sometimes we murmur against God and ask why are we not as intelligent as our friends.

Even though it is not our fault, but people give us different treatments according to how intelligent we are and how pretty we are.

But whenever we read the bible, it tells us of what is beautiful and valuable in the eyes of God. It point us to the right direction to the qualities we ought to pursue. For everything on earth is temporary, it is vanity and its glory will soon pass away. The things that are beautiful in the eyes of God are eternal and they last forever.

So will we pursue the beauty of the world or the beauty of the kingdom of God?

If we want to pursue after what is beautiful in God’s eye, we need to have the courage to stand before this mirror and check our reflection.  Then when Jesus come again we would be like the bride ready for the bridegroom. If we fail to prepare ourselves and we allow our filthiness to remain on us. How can we be fit to enter the kingdom of heaven?

Let us remember that the word of God is like a mirror, and most importantly let us use it regularly to examine ourselves for dirt For we need to cleanse ourselves in order to enter the kingdom of God.

Let us examine another metaphor

Word Of God Is Like A Rain

“For as the rain comes down,
  and the snow from heaven,
  And do not return there,
  But water the earth,
  And make it bring forth and bud,
  That it may give seed to the sower
  And bread to the eater,

  So shall My word be that goes forth
  from My mouth;
  It shall not return to Me void,
  But it shall accomplish what I please,
  And it shall prosper in the thing for which 
  I sent it.”- YHWH (Is 55:10-11)

Here the book of Isaiah describes the word of God as rainwater. Water is essential for life, without water the land will not give its produce. No matter how good the seed or how fertile the land is, without rain there will be no harvest.

The word of God is like rain, it is one that had the strength and the power of life. It can nurture life and help plants grow. That is why we need to get the water from God. For God spoke through Isaiah saying 

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
  Come to the waters;
  And you who have no money,
  Come, buy and eat.
  Yes, come, buy wine and milk
  Without money and without price.
  Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
  And your wages for what does not satisfy?
  Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
  And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
  Incline your ear, and come to Me.
  Hear, and your soul shall live;
  And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
  The sure mercies of David.” – YHWH (Is 55:1-3)

Let us not buy the waters from the world, for the things of earth can satisfy us temporarily. It may be able to satisfy us materially, it may be able to satisfy the lust of our eyes. But it cannot satisfy the void that is in our heart.

Why should we spend so much effort and money on things that can never truly satisfy?  Whenever we get a new car, a new house, we would feel elated upon receiving them. But how long will that happiness last? When we see other having something better, it robs us of our happiness.

We would desire something better a larger house, a cooler car  when will we ever be happy and satisfied? If we can be contented that easily, we would not have the rich committing suicide.

Men had a void in their heart, it is something nothing in the world can truly satisfy.  You may be a CEO with with a grand house and a luxury car. But our hearts would still be troubled we will find it hard to feel happiness. The void in man is the result of a life cut off from God. There is no hope of eternal life and eternal rest.  That is why only by returning to God can this void be filled up

Filling The Void In The Heart

Jesus had once said

“Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,
  
but whoever drinks of the water that I shall
   give him will never thirst. But the water that
   I shall give him will become in him a fountain 
  of water springing up into everlasting life.”- Jesus (Jn 4:13-14)

You may have a lot of water in this life, but you will experience thirst again.  For there will not be everlasting joy and peace.  Our world is never had a lack of  good food and good  enjoyment . Every culture regard their food as the best in the world.

But is there something that is so delicious yet the hardest to swallow?

It can be found in all cultures and we all have problems eating it. It is called “The Last Morsel”

It is the last bit of the most delicious food that will give us fond memories. But when we arrive at the last morsel, we would admire it for a long time and we will find it hard to swallow . It is not that this last morsel taste awful. But we all know that sadness of not being able to eat it for some time. 

That is why we would take a long time to eat it, we would nibble on it slowly and keep it for as long as we can. 

Under normal circumstances, we are able to enjoy our food because we know that we can try it again if we want to. That is the reason why we can enjoy without worries, for we know we can still eat it again. 

Therefore let u consider “Can enjoyment and sin satisfy forever?”

Let us consider this from some real life examples.

Suppose if a man were to spend his days living in sin, he may be happy during that moment of sin. But when he returns home and he knows that he have to account for his action before his wife and his family. Will that joy satisfy him forever?

Suppose if a man is able to enjoy everything that money has to offer. He is happy and contented with all that he had. But if one day his life is threatened by terminal illness and he would pass away anytime. Can he still remain happy? Will he be able to face death with courage?

The two examples above tells us that man needs the assurance to be able to face God and to have his sin forgiven. He need to know that when he dies, he is able to enter heaven and enter that eternal life. A man who is sure of that can face death without an issue. At the same time he will learn to enjoy every moment he had on earth. For he knows that he only live once, and after that he will enter a better place. 

Only the words of God can give us this eternal life and peace. It can satisfy us allowing us  not to thirst again. It is able to give us peace and allow us to be truly satisfied.  It can help us remain joyful. That is why the word of God is indeed the water of eternal life. It points us back to God and it lead us to eternal life

Let us not waste our time pursuing the waters of the world. Let us seek out the water of eternal life that God wanted us to have. Let us focus on what is everlasting and not the temporary things on earth.

The Cleansing Rain

There is another aspect of rain that we should consider. For many things on earth is cleanse with water. 

“that He might sanctify and cleanse
  her with the washing of water by
  the word, that He might present
  her to Himself a glorious church,
  not having spot or wrinkle or any
  such thing, but that she should be
  holy and without blemish. “ – Paul (Eph 5:26-27)

God demands his church to be a glorious church. But how do we define “a glorious church”?

Many regard a glorious church to be grand and clean, without a spot or wrinkle. That is why they built grand looking cathedrals and majestic church halls. They have the state of the art sound system with excellent indoor acoustics. They decorate the hall with stained glass, crystal lamps so as to give it a grand and majestic look. But does that make it a glorious church?

The church is not the building but the people who gathers and worship in it. They are the ones washed by the blood of Jesus. At the moment of baptism, , we are part of this church. Since we are part of this church we need to strive to be the Christian that are spotless and without wrinkle.

To help us achieve that, Jesus had used his blood to wash away our sins.  He had also given us his words to cleanse us. We need to understand the will of God and accept the cleansing of his blood. At the same time we need to listen to the words of God and allow it to clean us. We need to change our lives and repent before God, allowing his words to remove the uncleanness that is in our hearts.

Whenever we gather in church to listen to the words of God. It will remind us of our sins and sometimes rebuke us. There will also be time when the words of God can bring comfort and refresh us in our times of disappointment. If we do not listen to the words of God, we will not know of our own uncleanness.  We would think that everyone around us is as bad as us. 

Only by listening to the word of God we can see our actual situation. It can help us discover our weakness, sadness and our areas that require improvement.  As long as we come before God with a heart of repentance and to obey him, the word of God will be like rain water, giving us comfort and strength to change and to return to God. 

Let us esteem the word of God and allow it to cleanse us and help us.

Relationship Between Repentance And Resolve

Some of us may observe, “We have see many Christians coming to church and hearing the word of God. But they remain weak and unclean, it seems as though the word of God is powerless against sin.”

Such observation worries speakers as well. We sometimes question if we  should continue to speak the words of God. We wonder if there is a need to change our tones or to speak with tears.  Sometimes we wonder if we should speak with more zest and vigour. Especially when we look from the pulpit and it looks as though the word of God had no effect.

But Jesus once said that his words are life and they are spirit. They do have their power and effect. If not why do we receive testimonies of how the word of God changes the life of sinners.

The reason why many lives remain unchanged is because the hearers refuse to allow it to change their hearts. It is not that the word of God is without power and is not able to change life. For many of these Christians did experience changes, but their change impacted only for a moment.  Peter describes this aptly in his letter.

“For if, after they have escaped the
  pollutions of the world through the
  knowledge of the Lord and Saviour
  Jesus Christ, they are again entangled
  in them and overcome, the latter end
  is worse for them than the beginning.

  For it would have been better for them
  not to have known the way of righteousness,
  than having known it, to turn from the holy
  commandment delivered to them.

  But  it has happened to them according to
  the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own
  vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to
  her wallowing in the mire.”- Peter (2 Pet 2:20-22)

In the old testament, the dogs and pigs are considered unclean animals. For dogs ate their own vomit and the pig is unable to chew the curd, they  will also wallow in the mire. You may be able to give them a bath but they will return to their habits after that.

Some Christian have the same problem, they repented when they heard the teaching of Jesus. Their repentance is true and they began on their journey of faith.   But after a while they became estranged by the wickedness in the world again.

They do know the way of God, but they are unable to continue in that path.  They knew that it is wrong to visit  Casinos and Brothels and they know how it would bring harm to their life. But they choose to walk towards it.

These are the believers that Peter was talking about in his letter. That is why we see Christian lusting after the things of the world and leaving the church. They have stopped following Christ. They may be believers or even disciples in the past. They were the ones who left everything to follow Christ. But today they are no longer walking on the path of God.

That is why we need to understand that faith is not just about repenting with sincerity.  We need to have the resolve to follow Christ all the days of our lives. If we choose to  continue walking the path of wickedness we will fall away from God eventually.

A Concluding Story

There was a mental patient who felt that he had recovered and wanted to go home. So he approached the doctor to ask for his discharge. The doctor replied him with a challenge

“Let me give you a test,
  if you pass the test, I would 
  approve your discharge and 
  you can return home as you
  wish.”

The doctor went forward and turn on a tap, and the water was flowing into a pail. The doctor gave the patient a scope, and gave him his instruction.

“If you are able to scoop out 
  all the water from the pail,
  you can be discharged.”

So the patient was happy and replied “This is so easy” and he began scooping the water out. After some time,  there is still water in the pail. He wondered why it is not empty. So he told the doctor “There is something wrong with the pail, it is not normal”

So the doctor said “That is why you cannot go home”

A normal person will know that he need to close the tap before scooping out the water.

This same principle applies when we are trying to maintain holiness. A man can only be holy when he had decided to stop sinning. He needs to turn off the tap. We need to stop walking on the path of the wicked. We need to stop entertaining the thoughts of sinning. That is the only way to stop wickedness.

The Psalmist once said 

“Blessed is the man 
Who walks not in the
counsel of the ungodly, 
Nor stands in the path 
of sinners, Nor sits in the
  seat of the scornful;” – Psalmist (Ps 1:1)

We know the path of the righteous and the path of wickedness. We are aware of the end of both the sinner and the righteous. Let us use the word of God to cleanse and preserve our faith, When Christ come again we will receive blessing.  Let us make this decision to follow Jesus and never turn back. 

This is the Sharing at my church yesterday

Introduction

Joshua is a servant of God, he is the one who continue the work of Moses after his death. He was the man who led Israel into the land of Canaan. In his days as he served the Lord, he had encountered many miracles an grace of God. That is why in his old age, he had an important message to be delivered to the children of Israel. This message is important to us as Christian today as well.

Joshua began his address as follows

“I am old, advanced in age. You have seen all
  that the Lord your God has done to all these
  nations because of you, for the Lord your God
  is He who has fought for you. 4 See, I have
  divided to you by lot these nations that remain,
  to be an inheritance for your tribes, from
  the Jordan, with all the nations that I have
  cut off, as far as the Great Sea westward.
 
And the Lord your God will expel them from
  before you and drive them out of your sight.
  So you shall possess their land, as the Lord
  your God promised you” – Joshua (Jos 23:2-5)

This was the opening message of the message of Joshua. At that time Joshua is old in age, the book of Joshua, recorded how he led Israel. He led the Israelites to cross the river Jordan and led them on two campaigns to capture the land of Canaan. The work that God accomplish through Joshua is no ordinary work. For Jos 23:1 reads, “Now it came to pass, a long time after the Lord had given rest to Israel from all their enemies round about”.  God had given Israel rest from all their enemies, this is a testimony that Joshua had led the children of Israel until they have truly received the grace of God.

This is something we ought to emulate, especially to those of us who had followed the Lord for a long time. We need to lead our families to receive the grace of God, we must present our families to be holy before the Lord. Just like how Joshua gathered the people before the Lord.

Lets us begin by examining his message in details.

Pt 1: To Be Courageous  To Keep The Word of God

“Therefore be very courageous to keep
  and to do all that is written in the Book
  of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside
  from it to the right hand or to the left,” – Joshua (Jos 23:6)

Joshua begin by telling the children of Israel to be courageous when it comes keeping the law of Moses. He tells them not to turn from it to the right or the left. This is an important message, and this command is not created by Joshua. It was given to him by God.  For the Lord once said to Joshua

Only be strong and very courageous,
  that you may observe to do according
  to all the law which Moses My servant
  commanded you; do not turn from it
  to the right hand or to the left, that
  you may prosper wherever you go” – YHWH (Jos 1:7)

When Joshua took over the leadership of the children of Israel, it was a great responsibility. Not only the children of Israel were numerous, but they were about to cross over the river Jordan and conquer the land of Canaan. In face of such a great task before him, this was the command of God to him, God promised to be with Joshua just as he was with Moses all he need to do is to be courageous to keep the law of God. This was the command he obeyed all the days of his life. Now in Joshua 23 in his old age Joshua took what he received from God and gave them to the children of Israel . For he had understood why they were successful in entering the land of Canaan and how they manage to defeat the Canaanites that were in the land.

How does this relate to us today?

The reminder of being courageous to keep the word of God is not just for us, it is for our children as well. This is something difficult to do, for we need to do this from our heart. If we look around us  it is difficult for many around us will not keep it. But as far as the bible tells us, Jesus once said “If you love me, keep my commandments.”  (Jn 14:15), keeping the commandments is a display of our love of Jesus. As the children of God and a believer of Christ we must keep the commandments of God.

The bible tells us of many things we ought to fulfil in our lives,. If we follow the words of the bible, we would receive spiritual blessings as well as physical blessing. In order to receive blessings, we must work hard for we do not wait for blessing to fall on us . We  must strive for ourselves just like how the Israelites did when the enter the land of Canaan. They obeyed the command of God willingly when they cross over the river Jordan. They were told to carry the ark of God into fast flowing river Jordan.  Those who had seen the cross section of the crossing will notice that the entrance to the river is steep, therefore the priest have to jump right into the river for the waters to reside. In the same way, the walls of Jericho collapsed when they obey the command of God to walk around the city quietly. They did so for one round per day with the priest blowing the trumpet and no one shouting. They did so for  6 days. On the 7th day, they march around the city 7 times and on the 7th round, after the priest blew the trumpet, the people shouted and the walls fell flat. All these while the victories of the Israelites were a result of their obedience to the command of God.

Likewise, if we want to receive blessing from God today, we need to keep the commandment of God. For we will receive blessing,spiritually and physically. This can be seen in Israel when they enter the land of Canaan they rejoice in the land and it is a land fill with milk and honey. They could enjoy the blessing easily as God had given it to them. Just as what Joshua said in the next chapter

“I sent the hornet before you
  which drove them out from
  before you, also the two kings
  of the Amorites, but not with
  your sword or with your bow.
  I have given you a land for which
  you did not labor, and cities
  which you did not build, and you
   dwell in them; you eat of the
  vineyards and olive groves
  which you did not plant.” – Joshua (Jos 24:12-13)

Here Joshua reminded them that they did not build these cities or labour for this land. It is a blessing of God to them. To keep these blessing they need to keep the commandment of God

This is the first important message from Joshua to Israel

Pt 2: Remember How God Had Loved You

The second message is written in Jos 24:1-11. It is a long recount of the past history of Israel. How God took Terah and Abraham from the land of Ur of the Chaldeans (Modern Day Kuwait) to the land of Canaan (the present day Israel). How they used to serve other Gods and was turned to serve the true God. How he gave the land of Seir (Present day Jordan) to Esau and he took the children of Israel and settled them in the land of Egypt when they multiplied into a huge population. He reminded them how God sent 10 plagues into Egypt and saved them from the armies of the Pharaoh by the red sea. How he took care of Israel during their 40 years journey in the wilderness

Joshua gave these details so that he could remind the children of Israel. For Joshua knew that they have not experienced this in their lives. For almost everyone who came out of Egypt, who had experienced these miracles had all died in the wilderness. The audience Joshua was addressing are born during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. That is why Joshua recounted their history before them, Joshua wanted them to not forget all the blessings God had given them so far. For God had guided them in his mercy for if God had not taken care of them, they would have died in the hands of the Egyptians, or die of hunger in the wilderness. When Joshua look back at the entire journey before him, he could see how God blessed them on every part of the journey.

Therefore  Joshua brought an important message to Israel.  Reminding them that they are currently living in Canaan and that was all because of God. He reminded them not to forget God.

How does this relate to us today?

Today if we were to recount the many help God had given to us all these years, we would find that they are too numerous and we cannot finish writing about them in a book. At the basic level the greatest blessings we have received from God is that he had saved us from sin through baptism in his name. Therefore, like Joshua we must tell these to our next generation especially our young and our grandchildren. We need to tell them how God had blessed us and take care of us.  Let us not think that what we received  is the result of the work of our hands for all that we received came from God and we need to share these stories with our next generation

Pt 3: Choose For Yourselves Who You Should Serve

The last important message from Joshua are written in Jos 24:14-15

“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve
  Him in sincerity and in truth, and put
  away the gods which your fathers
  served on the other side of the River
  and in Egypt. Serve the Lord!

  And if it seems evil to you to serve
  the Lord, choose for yourselves this
  day whom you will serve, whether
  the gods which your fathers served
  that were on the other side of the
  River, or the gods of the Amorites,
  in whose land you dwell. But as for
  me and my house, we will serve
  the Lord.” – Joshua (Jos 24:14-15)

This last message is a challenge from Joshua, Joshua wanted the people to make a choice in their faith. This is a question we odd to ask ourselves. Joshua did not call the Lord God of Abraham , Isaac & Jacob but he simply say serve the Lord. This is because the faith of Israel must be established and they cannot depend on the faith of others  Joshua wanted the people to grow up in their faith and choose whom they want to serve. 

It is our decision to choose to follow the word of God or to follow the ways of the world. If we want to remain in our faith in God we cannot depend on the faith of others. If we choose to follow God we will have establish our faith. In the church we can see different level of faith, there are some who come to church only when the preacher comes to deliver a sermon , while some follow their friends and relatives to come to church. Such faith is still at infancy  There are also others who think that they are saved but their faith does not match up with their deeds

We need to understand that we will eventually be judged for our actions. We are not saved by the deeds of others. That is why our faith needs to grow and we need to make a choice to follow God. Even at home when our kids grow up they have to make their own choices. Some may choose to serve God while some will choose to follow the ways of the world. As a parent we cannot do much about it. But we could follow the example of Joshua . Joshua encourage them to choose God.

We may be wondering why did Joshua make this his final message and not the first or second. If Joshua were to make them choose in the beginning  they may not choose carefully. In order to allow the children of Israel to make a lasting commitment to God. He decided to remind them how important it is to keep the commandment of God through their life experience and he reminded them how God had taken care of them in the past. He asked them to make a choice only after considering everything.

In the same way, we ought follow this same model, to first teach our children the importance of having courage to follow the commandments of the Lord and to recall all the blessing God had given them so far.  Only when they consider everything then allow them to make the choice to establish their faith

Conclusion

We have studied the three important message from Joshua. Let us learn to keep the commandment of God with courage, to recount and remember the blessing God had given us.

Let us make the right choice in faith and establish our faith in the Lord.

This blog post came as a result of a request from the user Lis P. who posted a comment on my blog entry Lyrics of 男儿当自强

The request is for the translation of a movie theme song sang by Jackie Chan titled “Who Am I?”. It was quite difficult to find but I managed to find the lyrics after a month of googling and baidu searches.

In the quest of the search I found a few interesting fact about the song. The lyrics, one of which is  that the song was actually written and composed by a famous Taiwanese Singer Emil Chau.  I believe Emil was a friend of Jackie as he  made cameo appearance in some of his movies

The role of the post is not to provide a critique to the movie. I would just drop information details about the movie to help readers understand the lyrics better.

A Quick Introduction to the Movie

“Who am I?” was a comedy film by Jackie Chan. Like in all of his shows, it features interesting car stunts and daredevil stunt sequences.

The story is about a multinational military unit which was sent to ambush a convey and kidnaps several scientist working on a meteorite.   The unit was eventually double crossed by their commander after the mission. Their helicopter was sabotaged and the unit died in the helicopter crash.

One of the member survived , he was saved by a African tribe and he awoke with an amnesia. Unsure of his name, he called himself “Who Am I”. Later on he stayed among the natives and learnt their customs.

Later on he rescued a rally driver from a snake bite, and help the team win the rally championship. While his commander realise that there was a survivor from the helicopter crash. They went on to try to kill him.

Eventually he managed to track down the commander to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. After much fight and difficulties, he managed to help the CIA capture that rogue commander.

The song lyrics is mainly about the main character singing about himself not being sure who he really is.  The background music featured a tribal music, tribal drums and chants due to the fact that the main character was stuck in the African desert and living among the African tribesmen  for some time.

Interestingly i notice a lot of word play in the lyrics. Unfortunately those word play cannot be successfully translated into English. At the same time the lyrics can be quite a tongue twister if you try to read it  aloud.
And I believe i heard Emil Chau’s voice at some part of the song.

Nonetheless here is the Lyrics and their Hanyu Pinyin

Title: 我是谁
Lyrics : 陈没、周华健
Sang by: 周华健, 成龙
Title: Who Am I?
Lyrics : Chen She, Emil Chau
Sang by: Emil Chau, Jackie Chan
(Stanza 1)
昏天暗地 这里到底是那里 要住哪里走 要往那里去 滚滚风沙 混沌中我是谁 还要怎么追 还要怎么退 昨天我是谁?今天谁是我? 耕过耘过 得过且过 来过去过 谁是我是谁 我是谁是我 是过非过 现在的我不是我
(Stanza 1)
hūn​ tiān​ àn dì​ , zhè​ lǐ​ dào ​dǐ​ shì​ nà ​li​?
yào​ wǎng​ nǎ ​lǐ​ zǒu​, yào​ wǎng​ nà ​li​ qù​?
Gǔn​ gǔn​ fēng ​shā​ hùn , dùn​ zhōng​ wǒ​ shì shéi​ hái​​ yào​ zěn ​me​ zhuī​, hái​​ yào​ zěn ​me​ tuì​ zuó​ tiān​ wǒ​ shì​ shéi​? jīn ​tiān​ shéi​ shì​ wǒ​ ? ēng guò​ yún​ guò, dé ​guò ​qiě ​guò​, lái​ guò ​qu​ guò​
shéi​ shì​ wǒ​ shì​ shéi​, wǒ​ shì​ shéi​ shì​ wǒ​ shì  guò​ fēi​ guò, ​ xiàn ​zài​ de wǒ  bù​ shì​ wǒ​
(Stanza 2) 
茫茫大雾看不见是谁非谁
昨天南到北 明天怎么追?
茫茫大地真想不出是过非过
今天行到北 最好不爱谁
昨天我是谁?今天谁是我?
笑过哭过 不是只我 何必是
我谁是我是谁 我是谁是我
是过非过 现在的我不是我
(Stanza 2) 
máng​ máng​ dà ​wù​ kàn ​bu ​jiàn​ shì​ shéi​ fēi ​shéi
zuó​ tiān​ nán​ dào​ běi​, míng ​tiān​ zěn ​me​ zhuī​?
máng ​máng​ dà ​dì​ zhēn​ xiǎng​ bù​ chū​ shì​ guò​ fēi​  guò​
jīn​ tiān​ xíng​ dào​ běi​. zuì ​hǎo​ bù​ ài​ shéi​
zuó​ tiān​ wǒ​ shì​ shéi​? jīn​tiān shéi​ shì​ wǒ​?
xiào​ guò​ kū​ guò, bù ​shì​ zhī​ wǒ​, hé ​bì​ shì​ wǒ​
shéi​ shì​ wǒ​ shì​ shéi​, wǒ​ shì​ shéi​ shì​ wǒ​​
shì​ guò​ fēi​ guò, xiàn ​zài​ de​ wǒ​ bù ​shì​ wǒ​

As requested. the translation is as follows

(stanza 1 )

In the dark I awoke, where I right now?

Where should I go now? Where shall I head to?

In midst of sandstorm and chaos,  I do not know who I really am.

How should I pursue? How should I retreat?

Who am I yesterday? Who am I today?

As time past, I muddle through and I have came and go

Who am I? Who am I?   
Is it fault or blessing that my current self isn’t me?

(stanza 2 )

Among the thick fog I cannot make out who he is

I travelled south to north, where shall i pursue tomorrow?

Among the vast land I cannot figure if this a blessings or curse

Today I travel north, its better to love nobody

Who am I yesterday? Who am I today?

I have smiled and cried, and its not only me and why should it be me?

Who am I? Who am I?   
Is it fault or blessing that my current self isn’t me?

I have found only one youtube containing the song

I have found Emil Chau singing an English version of this song on youtube as well

Introduction

“For this reason we also thank God
  without ceasing, because when you 
  received the word of God which you
  heard from us, you welcomed it not
  as the word of men, but as it is in truth,
  the word of God, which also effectively
  works in you who believe. “ – Paul (1 Thess 2:13()

Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica telling them that the words he preached were not the words of men. They are the words of God and they work effectively in those who believe. Today, as we visit the church and listen to a sermon. We need to ask and reflect within ourselves

  • “Are we receiving the words of God or the words of man?”
  • “Can we accept it fully just because the speaker is a renown theologian?”
  • “Are we accepting it because we know that it is indeed the words of God?

Indeed a speaker must resolve to preach the word of God in the pulpit. But the listeners have the duty to discern if the words are truly the words of God.  Only by actively listening and discernment can we allow the words of God to save us.

Besides that we need to understand how the word of God works within us. For the word of God is spirit and it is life, it works effectively in those who believe. Only by understanding how the word of God works, we can be encouraged and edified. Then the word of God will truly have an effect in our lives.

The bible uses many metaphors to describe the words of God. If we examine them closely, we will understand how the word of God works within us.

The Word Of God Is Like Fire

Is not My word like a fire?
  And like a hammer that breaks the rock
  in pieces?”-YHWH (Jer 23:29)

Here God describes his words like a fire. How does that work within us? On a cold day, a fire could bring us warmth and comfort. It can provide heat in the cold and help us feel warm and good. God’s word is like a fire and it is especially useful when we feel cold and disappointed in life. Whenever we encounter sadness and disappointment, God’s word can be a fire that gives us warmth and comfort.

That is why we read of many stories in the bible of kings, prophets and disciples who found comfort when they were feeling disappointed and fearful. For the word of God is like a fire, burning within them and helping them in their distress. It even burns within them and move them to continue to in their service. Let us read about a personal experience from Prophet Jeremiah

The Fire Within Prophet Jeremiah

“O Lord, You induced me, and I was persuaded;
  You are stronger than I, and have prevailed.
  I am in derision daily;
  Everyone mocks me.
  For when I spoke, I cried out;
  I shouted, “Violence and plunder!”
  Because the word of the Lord was made to me
  A reproach and a derision daily.
  Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him,
  Nor speak anymore in His name.”
  But His word was in my heart like a burning fire
  Shut up in my bones;
   I was weary of holding it back,
   And I could not.” – Jeremiah (Jer 20:7-9)

We often have the misconception that prophets of God are full of authority and are respected by everyone around. But that applies only to the Godly. In fact, the ungodly would attack, mock and even plot against the workers of God.

Their action saddens Jeremiah, for he did not sign up for such mockery. It was God who called him to be a prophet. But he said “the word of the Lord was made to me a reproach and a derision daily.”  He knows that if he resolve not to speak them, he will have peace and he would not be mocked.  That is why he said “I will not make mention of Him,   Nor speak anymore in His name.”

This came as a result of his disappointment. It is not that he had chosen to be disappointed, but the surrounding discourage him greatly. 

But yet he continued to speak, but do we understand his reason? He said “But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back,  And I could not.”

Jeremiah felt the word of God within his heart, it is like a fire that he cannot hold back. It is the word of God within him that make him reconsider his decision to remain silent.  It is like a fire within him that gave him comfort and strength. It gave him a passion and allow him to continue to speak. This is the experience of Jeremiah.

Like Jeremiah, we may experience this same disappointment that silence us. It disappoints us to the extent that we will not speak, nor preach or testify the words of God anymore. But even in our disappointment , let us believe in the words of God. Let it be a fire within us.  Let us not quench it, for by quenching that fire we are quenching the work of the Holy Spirit.

It is possible to put out that fire, we only need to stop thinking of the word of God. But that would lead to a crisis in our faith. For the word of God is meant to give us strength and comfort. If we choose to stop thinking about it how can we receive the strength to continue in faith?

It is natural to encounter disappointment in life, but let us resolve not to let go of the words of God. For Gods word could preserve our faith and give us strength. Let us examine another experience.

The Fire Within King David

“I said, “I will guard my ways,
  Lest I sin with my tongue;
  I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle,
  While the wicked are before me.”
  I was mute with silence,
  I held my peace even from good;
  And my sorrow was stirred up.
  My heart was hot within me;
  While I was musing, the fire burned.
  Then I spoke with my tongue:” – David (Ps 39:1-3)

King David reminded himself to guard his ways, so that he will not sin with his mouth. He did not want to offend people, especially wicked people who do not fear God. For wicked people may do harm to those who offend them. 

We have similar experience of meeting someone who appears to be good.  But looks can be deceiving, when we entrust them with our secrets, only to realise that they have broadcast it all over. That is why we need to be careful, especially when we speak before others.

David went a step ahead, he chose to be quiet in verse 2 and he even chose not to speak good words. The best words were actually the words of God. But David chose not to speak it as well. While it is commendable to avoid gossips and idle talk, it is not good to stop sharing the words of God. 

But as David remains silent, the heart of David burns hot within him. That is why he spoke in the end. David must have his reasons for remaining silent. But as he thought of the words of God and how God will judge him if he remains silent, he felt the fire, he receives comfort and strength so he spoke the words of God with his mouth.

This fire continues to burn in the new testament, even among believers of God.

The Disciples On The Road to Emmaus

“And they said to one another,
   “Did not our heart burn within
     us while He talked with us on 
     the road, and while He opened
    the Scriptures to us?”
 
So they rose up that very hour and
  returned to Jerusalem, and found
  the eleven and those who were
  with them gathered together” – Luke (Lk 24:32-33)

In this passage there were two disciples who were disappointed and have left Jerusalem. They have heard of the resurrection of Jesus, but they could not recognise Jesus.  On the road to Emmaus, Jesus started talking to them asking  “Why are you sorrowful?”  They replied saying “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”

The disciples went on to talk about Christ being crucified and that there were some women who had seen him alive.  There were some among them who went to take a look at the tomb, they found it empty and they are unable to locate the body of Jesus.

Even though they knew this, they were still cold in faith. They wanted to leave this sad city of Jerusalem. For they find the news of his resurrection unbelievable and difficult  to accept. But Jesus explains the scriptures to them and broke bread together with them. It is at that time they recognised Jesus and the appearance of Jesus strengthened their faith.

But what clause their faith to be truly strengthened? 

Verse 32 tell us that their hearts were burning as Jesus explained, and open the scriptures before them. Jesus explained his plan of salvation and how Christ must die and be resurrected. That is when they understood and they allowed the word of God to work within them . The word of God ignited their hearts and their hearts burned within them.

That is why they stood up, changed their plans and return to the city of Jerusalem. For now they knew that it is true that Jesus had resurrected and it is their duty to preach the news to the world. Therefore, they found strength to return to Jerusalem. For they knew that this is their responsibility to preach the word, to save souls and allow others to have their sins forgiven.

Even though they have received the word of God, but there are others who had not heard them. Therefore, they continue sharing the gospel even if the world mocks them.  It is true that preaching the word of God can sometimes bring sorrow, harms and even hurt, but it is something that is worth our effort. For we know it is the words of God.

Word Of God Is Like A Hammer

Jeremiah 23:29 also describes the word of God like a hammer that break huge rocks into pieces. Why does God describe it so? For the heart of man can be as hard as a rock. There are men whose heart is so hard that you would need to smash the rock before you can reach out to them.

One of the greatest examples of this is seen on the day of Pentecost. On that day, the word of God is like a hammer breaking the heart of many Jews. About 50 days earlier, they had killed Jesus declaring with  a loud voice “May that sin be on us and our children”. Even though Pilate had declared Jesus innocent on three occasions, they were bent on their demand to crucify Jesus. Finally Pilate gave up and washed his hands, declaring “I am innocent of the blood of this man”.

The incident before the Roman governor testify of the hardheartedness of the Jews. We would often wonder how can we ever reach out to such people. But during the feast of the Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended for the first time.  These people heard an unknown tongue, they were astonished and even afraid. They were wondering what happened,  and as they gathered to look at the disciples who were praying. They were questioning if Jesus was indeed their Messiah, for they had just crucified him.

Now they knew that Jesus had resurrected and have sent the Holy Spirit to his disciples and they have seen and hear it. But the news of the resurrection of Jesus and the speaking of tongues did not smash their hard-heartedness.  What really broke their heart?

Therefore let all the house of
   Israel know assuredly that God
   has made this Jesus, whom you
  crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

  Now when they heard this, they 
  were cut to the heart, and said to
  Peter and the rest of the apostles,
  “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”” Luke (Acts 2:36-37)

It was the words of Peter that cut them to the heart. His entire sermon was recorded in Acts 2:14-36. When they heard the conclusion of peter that Jesus, whom they have crucified is Lord and Christ. They were cut in their heart. That is when the word of God became a hammer that breaks the hardheartedness of the Jews

 Getting Rid Of Our Misconception

Let us not have the misconception that a hard hearted man cannot receive the gospel of salvation. For the word of God is like a hammer, we need to believe in it, then it would give us the courage to preach the words of God.  If we continue with the idea that everyone is hard-hearted. We will never be able to preach the words of God.

Whenever we share the gospel, we need to believe that we are indeed speaking the words of God. For if we speak without faith, we will sound like a newscaster or a researcher. Our words will only contain dead facts that have no life within.

That is why the Author of Hebrew reminds us

“Therefore, since a promise remains of
   entering His rest, let us fear lest any
   of you seem to have come short of it. 
   For indeed the gospel was preached
   to us as well as to them; but the word
  which they heard did not profit them,
 
not being mixed with faith in those
  who heard it.”- Author of Hebrews (Heb 4:1-2)

The author of Hebrews was comparing the Christians with the Israelites who were unable to enter the land of Canaan. He felt that the Israelites could not enter the promise land because they did not mixed faith with hearing.

In fact, the word of God will have no effect if it is not mixed with faith.

Those who were parents will have this experience. Whenever our child lies, he will lower his head and speak softly. That is because he is not convinced that his lies could fool his parents. But if the child is innocent, he would speak loudly saying that he is not guilty. For he knows he was telling the truth.

The same reaction will come if we have faith in the words of God. Whenever we speak of it, we would speak it with confidence and faith. If we believe in the words of God, our attitude towards it will be different. If we do not believe in those words, it would have no effect in our life.  For we will find it hard to believe and difficult to accept.

That is why we need to examine ourselves, to see if we truly believe in the word of God. If we indeed  believe in it , will we allow the word of God to be like a hammer in our hearts? But there is an aspect of this we must take note.

To Use The Hammer The Right Way

While the word of God is like a hammer, let us not use it to hammer everyone around us. For  sculptors will tell us that hitting the stones in the wrong will will damage the stone 

In a same way, if we use the hammer incorrectly, we will end up breaking and hurting everyone around us.

There was one personal experience that I would like to share.

There was once I bought durians from the night market in Brunei. While I have similar experience buying durians back at home in Singapore, the sellers would break the fruit before giving them to us. But in Brunei the durians are sold unopened. So my colleague and I tried to break open the fruit using a knife and hammer.

The process was very difficult and we end up hurting our hands and all we got is a small morsel of durian as our reward. We manage to break open 3 of the 5 fruit we purchase, and we threw away the last 2 as we are simply too exhausted trying to break the shell. It was later when the locals taught us that there is a weak point in the fruit where it could be penetrated easily with a knife.

Indeed the same principle applies whenever we use the word of God as a hammer. We cannot hammer the word of God into people without mercy. We need to find the right spot to use it effectively.  Jesus had left us a good example when it comes to sharing the word of God.

The Example Of Jesus Preaching To The Samaritan Woman

We remember the story Of Jesus preaching to the Samaritan woman in John 4. Let us keep in mind a few facts regarding the story. The Samaritan woman is not a morally upright character. She had five husbands and the one whom she is living with is not her husband. From here we know that she did not care about ethics or the word of God.

A typical self righteous Christian response to people like that is to use the word of God like a hammer. We would most speak in a self righteous manner “Read the seventh Commandment! You are an adulterer, and you have 5 husbands.”

But are we preaching the words of God or  are we unleashing our own wrath and frustration upon the victim? Perhaps some will say that they wanted to save her, but they cannot deny their urge to reprimand her.

Let us examine how Jesus approached the woman.

(Extracted from Jn 4:7-15)

Jesus : “Give Me a drink.”

Woman : “How is it that You, being a Jew,
                      ask a drink from me, a Samaritan 
                      woman?”

Jesus : “If you knew the gift of God, and who
                it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’
                 you would have asked Him, and He 
                 would have given you living water.”

Woman : “Sir, You have nothing to draw with,
                      and the well is deep. Where then 
                      do You get that living water?
                      Are You greater than our father Jacob,
                      who gave us the well, and drank from
                       it himself, as well as his sons and his
                       livestock?”

Jesus : “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst 
                 again,  but whoever drinks of the water 
                 that I shall give him will never thirst. But
                 the water that I shall give him will become 
                 in him a fountain of water springing up into
                 everlasting life.”

Woman : “Sir, give me this water, that I may not
                      thirst, nor come here to draw.”

It appears as if Jesus is talking about something unrelated to the gospel. But we know that Jesus was in fact sitting by the well waiting for her. Everyone else was out buying food. Jesus was waiting for the opportunity to speak to her alone. For if they were to talk about private matters in public the woman will walk away.  Jesus waited here and he is demonstrating to us how to conduct personal evangelism.

When the woman came Jesus asked for water and it surprised the woman. For she asked “How is it that You, being a Jew,ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” Jesus went on to talk about the water from the well and the waters of life. When the woman is interested to receive the water, he proceeds to point out her sin.

(Extracted from Jn 4:16-18)

Jesus : “Go, call your husband, and come here.”

Woman : “I have no husband.”

Jesus : “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’
                 for you have had five husbands, and the
                one whom you now have is not your husband;
                in that you spoke truly.”

A conversation like this require skill. Istead of pointing out her sin directly, Jesus allows her to declare her own sin. When the woman said that she had no husband, Jesus told her the truth. If Jesus had pointed out her sin directly, she would have left on the spot. 

Personal evangelism is  sharing the word of God with our friends individually. That is why we need to learn this example from Jesus. How he moved from the waters of the well to the water of life. How he pointed out her sin and tell her that her sin could be forgiven.

If we continue reading that chapter we can see how Jesus moved from worshipping God in the temple to the importance of worshipping God in spirit and in truth.

The Result Of The Work Of Jesus

The result of the evangelistic work of Jesus can be seen clearly at the end of the chapter.

“The woman then left her waterpot,
  went her way into the city, and said
  to the men,  “Come, see a Man who 
  told me all things that I ever did.
  Could this be the Christ?”  
 
Then they went out of the city and
  came to Him.”- John(Jn  4:28-30)

The effort put in by Jesus resulted to many Samaritans believing in Jesus.  From here we can see that  the word of God is indeed like a hammer, but its effectiveness depends on whether we know how to use it correctly. Incorrect usage of the hammer will result to us breaking and hurting those around us.

That is why Peter reminds us

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, 
  and always be ready to give a defense to 
  everyone who asks you a reason for the
  hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; “ – Peter (1 Pet 3:15)

If someone were to ask us about our faith are we able to give our testimony immediately? But Peter tells us to be always ready to share our faith and defend it in a minute’s notice. If anyone were to ask us regarding the hope that is in us, we are expected to be able to reply with gentleness and meekness.

We need to understand our faith and we cannot afford to follow our religion blindly.

That is why Peter reminds us that the most important thing is to respect and sanctify  God. At the same time we need to be ready with a defence, so that if anyone were to question our hope in Christ. We could give our answer in all meekness and fear, by following this we could lead a person to God.

This would result to the word of God saving him.

Conclusion

So far we have studied two of the metaphors used in the bible to describe the words of God. We know that the word of God is like a fire. It can bring us warmth and strength when we are tired and weary. It can give us hope whenever we feel down.

At the same time the word of God is like a hammer. It can break the hardheartedness of man and make them repent before God.  But its effectiveness depends on how we use this hammer. If we speak with wisdom , humility and meekness, we can lead a person to God.

We need to remember that the word of God has the power to save us from sin and bring salvation to the hearers. Let us put in an effort to learn it.

This is an extract of the Sermon from my home church for our Lunar New Year Service,

The Lunar New Year is an important festival for the Chinese, and often we would hear many typical greetings such as “恭喜发财” (May you make a fortune) some kids may even say “红包拿来” (Surrender your red packet now). But as Christians, we usually greet each other “新年快乐”(Happy New Year) or even “福杯满盈” (May your cup overflow (Ps 23:5) ).

Indeed the new year is a special time for reflection for Spring is the time where everything is renewed. So as the world is slowly renewing itself, let us strive for renewal in our faith.  But how do we renew our faith?

Putting Off Our Former Conduct

Paul once told the church in Ephesus

But you have not so learned Christ,
  if indeed you have heard Him and
  have been taught by Him, as the
  truth is in Jesus:  that you put off,
  concerning your former conduct,
  the old man which grows corrupt
  according to the deceitful lusts,” – Paul (Eph 4:20-22)

Paul told us to put off our old man, for it is an old man that grows corrupt according to deceitful lust. The New year is the time for new resolutions, I believe all of us have make certain resolutions with regards to our lives, but have we made a resolution with regard to our spiritual journey?

Most people in the eastern hemisphere will take the chance during the lunar new year to get rid of old things at home and to buy new replacements. In the past, we would save up new clothes to be worn in the new year as we visit our relatives.

In the same attitude, Paul reminds the church in Ephesus

This I say, therefore, and testify
  in the Lord, that you should no
  longer walk as the rest of the
  Gentiles walk, in the futility of
  their mind, having their understanding
  darkened, being alienated from
  the life of God, because of the
  ignorance that is in them, because
  of the blindness of their heart
  who, being past feeling, have 
  given themselves over to lewdness,
  to work all uncleanness with
  greediness.“- Paul(Eph 4:17-19)

Paul described the Gentiles as having their understanding darkened. For they are unable to see this vanity, and they are unable to find satisfaction in life. For even if you own the entire world, it would only satisfy for a short while. Soon we would crave for something more.

King Solomon once told us that life on earth is Vanity and there is nothing new under the sun. For those who lead their life without God would always feel that life could never be satisfied. Since we often tell ourselves that life is just about going to school, getting a job, establishing a family and to gain status and fame. He describes all these as vanity and grasping for the wind. Ironically man spent most of his time chasing after them.

Many Christians felt the same before they started to follow Christ, for only when we accept the words of God, then they realise that it is the bread of life. That is when they feel contented in their heart and they no longer have their understanding darkened

Letting Go Of Our ignorance

That is why Paul describes a person that is alienated from the life of God as a result of ignorance. For only those who know God would want to seek him, those who are ignorant would not seek God. All they could see is the thing that lies before their eyes. They are only able to see what is temporary and not what is eternal.

Those who are ignorant of the word of God will tend to choose their own standard of morality. They believe that as long as they do not kill or hurt people they are good. But by God’s standard no one is righteous. Only by following the word of God can they depart from darkness.  If a man a far away from God, he can never follow the will of God.

That is why Paul reminds us “But you have not so learned Christ,” – Paul( Eph 4:20)

Sometimes when we look at our world and we wonder, “Why are there so much problem in the world?”

That is because man follows his own standards and he tries to define what is good and right in his own eyes. Every man had his own standards of morality, what seem to be acceptable to one may not be acceptable to another. If there are no standards and rules, how could one make peace with one another?

Putting Off Our Old Man

That is why Paul tells us to put off our old character and put on our new man. Paul wrote

“and that you put on the new man
  which was created according to God,
  in true righteousness and holiness”- Paul (Eph 4:24)

If we want to put on this new man, we must be prepared to put off our old man. To allow the new man that is created according to the word of God to take form within us. This image of God is one that had true righteousness and holiness.

For if we continue in our old character, we will run into many problems. Those who are often given to wrath suffer from bad health. It often leads to suffering of the people around us. Those who often have pride will often boast of their past glory and his past success. They will focus only on themselves and their selfish conduct will bring pain and hurt to others around them.

If one were to follow the word of God and be a new man. If we allow the new man to grow within us. If we allow the word of God to be our standard and to follow them in our daily interaction with others. We would find that we would be happier and there will be less problems.

For Paul once wrote to the Corinthians saying

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
  he is a new creation; old things
  have passed away; behold, all
  things have become new.”- Paul (2 Cor 5:17)

Paul said that we are all new creation in Christ, our old self had passed away and became renewed. But the question is “How can we be a new creation?” In the past, we are people without hope, but it is through the blood of Christ that we put off our old man. In the past in the garden of Eden, man had the image of God, that image was lost when man sinned against God.

It is through the sacrifice of Christ at the point of Baptism where we have our sin forgiven and we regain that image which Adam lost. But we know that after our baptism, we would continue to sin in our lives and fall short of the standard of God. That is why we need to lead a life of Spiritual nurture. We need to put in the effort to continue on the path we have chosen to take.

Pt 1: Entering Into The Word Of God

That is why the first step of our renewal involves entering into the word of God. For Jesus is the truth and he came to save us from sin. In order to be a new man we ought to abide in his words and enter into his truth.

For the word of God is mighty and is able to change us. We have all read the sermon of the mount recorded in Matthew 5-7. It teaches us the basis of what to do in order to enter into the truth of God. It talks about what must one do to be part of Gods Kingdom and how we could enter the Kingdom of God. One of the main points from the sermon on the mount is to tell us that change must start from our hearts.

There is a stark difference between the Old Testament and the New. In the law of Moses, a sin is only regarded as a sin when the people took action. For example, a murder counts as a murder when a man is killed. But in the new testament, the thought of murder and adultery is regarded as sin.

In order to enter the word of God. We must focus on our hearts, and if we are changing from within it would be reflected so that others would see. Sometimes we are unable to change because we carry too much of our own burdens and baggage within us. In every new year, we renew our surroundings by getting rid of things we do not want and cleaning up the house.

Likewise, we must renew our hearts and minds by allowing the word of God into our heart. We need to allow the word of God to change us, and the word of God must never stop as just mere head knowledge. It must be kept in our heart and shown in our actions. Only then can one enter into the word of God and experience God.

Pt 2: To Enter Into The Love of God

Paul talks about another aspect of Renewal that we ought to take note

“but, speaking the truth in love,
may grow up in all things into
  Him who is the head—Christ—”- Paul (Eph 4:15)

We need to practice the love of God. Paul specially talks about speaking the truth in love.  It tells us that love must be foundation of the truth. Truth cannot be determined by mere human emotion. For our human emotions will not help us to enter into the love of God. Love that is built upon the words of God is one that endures forever.

A New man must enter into the love of God. That love is one that is built on truth, it is pure and unconditional. Just as Jesus describes in the sermon on the mount

“But I say to you, love your enemies,
  bless those who curse you, do good
  to those who hate you, and pray for
  those who spitefully use you and
  persecute you” – Jesus (Matt 5:44)

This verse also tells us that one of the requirements from Jesus is to forgive others. We know it is hard, but yet we know it is a requirement. That is why Jesus reminds us to pray for our enemies. We remember that Jesus did it when he was on the cross when he said

“Father, forgive them, for they do
  not know what they do.” – Jesus (Lk 23:34)

Perhaps in the previous year there are many people who had offended us. But can we on account of God, forgive those who had hurt and offend us in the new year? But if we resolve to enter into the love of God we must try our best to forgive and to move on.

Pt 3: To Enter Into The Spirit of God

There is one more aspect of renewal to consider.

We need to be renewed in the spirit and to have a change in our lives. For when the Holy Spirit is here he will change us and renew us in our spirit. For the Holy Spirit is power from God.  For Jesus told his disciples before he ascended to heaven.

“But you shall receive power when
  the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
  and you shall be witnesses to Me
 
in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and
  Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”- Jesus (Acts 1:8 )

The Holy Spirit is power from on high. For Jesus knows our weakness and we cannot overcome the flesh by our own might. That is why he poured the Holy Spirit into us to be our counsellor and guide to renew us and change us so that we would become the new man.

It would be difficult for us to follow the word of God by our own strength. But if we keep the word with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will become our bread of life and add power onto us. The Holy Spirit can help us put off our old man.

For whenever we pray to God in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit will intercede for us to God. Those who are filled with the Holy Spirit will be renewed by the power of God. The Holy Spirit will lead us to the truth. He will guide us and bring to our mind the words of God.

If we allow it to move us, we can be changed into the new man

Conclusion

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
  he is a new creation; old things
  have passed away; behold, all
  things have become new.”- Paul (2 Cor 5:17)

We are all children of God and Jesus had purchased us with his blood. That is why we ought to hold on to him and to be renewed in our lives.  Paul had told us to put off our old man and to be renewed into a new creation.

We have covered three aspects of this renewal. Let us make the resolve to be renewed as we begin year 2016.

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