God’s Oath to His Eternal Promise

Anniversary Sermon – 2017


When God made a promise, He made sure that He will fulfill it. However, not all people will be blessed to receive His promise. 

The Bible says that only His children will inherit the promised eternal life. Apostle Paul tells us, “So you are no longer a slave, but Godʼs child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” – Galatians 4:7 NIV. Thus, God will first remove us from being a slave of wrong belief, wrong faith and wrong teachings so we can be God’s children.

He also wrote a letter to the church in Ephesus, “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” -Ephesians 3:6 NIV

Thus, all of us who are called to be members of the church became His children. The Bible tells us, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husbandʼs will, but born of God.” -John 1:12‭-‬13 NIV

Christ has given us an example on how we can be God’s child, that is, through baptism we will be born again according to the righteousness of God and we will be His children- Matthew 3:13-15.

Being born again doesn’t only mean that we need to be baptized in water. Baptism should be done in water and in spirit, that is, we need to live a renewed life focused on doing the will of the Lord. This should also be done in the church of God- Acts 2:41,47.

Now, baptism is not the end of our search, it is only the beginning. And we are serving the Lord wholeheartedly because we believe that this is the only way to attain what the Lord has promised. God’s promise will definitely benefit us greatly, in this life and in the life to come. 

Apostle Paul tells us, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” -1 Timothy 4:8 NIV

In this life, God promised a complete protection. He will never neglect or ignore His children. The book of Isaiah tells us, “no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord , and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord .” -Isaiah 54:17 NIV

God’s promise extends not only in this life, but to the life that would come, which is the eternal life, so having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. – Titus 3:7 NIV

Apostle Paul explains that this promise is in Christ – 2 Timothy 1:1. Christ is not only our comforter, but He is also our rewarder. 

One thing that we need to understand is that when God made this promise, He confirmed it with an oath- Hebrews 6:16-17. 

The word oath means a solemn usually formal calling upon God or a god to witness to truth of what one says.  ( Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary)

Thus, even God Himself wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.-Hebrews 6:17 NIV

As an example, we can read, “the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac.  He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant:” -Psalm 105:9‭-‬10 NIV

Why did God make an oath to His promise?

The Bible says, “God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain”-Hebrews 6:18‭-‬19 NIV

So, the main reason for this is so that we learn to put our hopes and trust in the Lord. 

What did God include in His oath to His promise for all His children?

To make sure that He is holding on to His promise, God has put His name at stake. God’s name has been an important part of showing His power. Through His name, which was given to His children (Daniel 9:19), the sins of many were relieved. His name alone saves. And there was no name that was given unto us by which we must be saved – Acts 4:12.

God rules all His children, and if there are people who claim they are of God but do not use His name, then these people are not of God – Isaiah 63:19.

The purpose of this topic is to hold on to what was promised to us by God. He has given us a new living hope in Christ (1 Peter 1:3), thus, we are expected to hold on to this hope and be firm always in our faith. 

If God has placed His oath for His promise to us, then we should also place our oath in Him. When we were called and became children of God through baptism, we made an oath that we will offer our lives in Him and serve Him wholeheartedly- as Christ says, ““Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’” -Matthew 5:33 NIV

Let us try not to break our oath to God but instead, fulfill them for His pleasure. Amen… 

 

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The Snares of Death

April 30, 2017


The word snares means (1) : something by which one is entangled, involved in difficulties, or impeded (2) : something deceptively attractive (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). 

The world we live in is a world full of deceptions. Simply, because earth was already given to the hands of the wicked – Job 9:24.

There are many forms of deceptions but they all come from the enemy of God, the devil. The psalms of David tells us that there are snares of death – Psalms 18:5. 

The Bible teaches that these snares will definitely lead people to death. The usual victims of these snares are those who are easily caught up with the love of material things. Apostle Paul writes, “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” – 1 Timothy 6:9‭-‬10 NIV

The inability of people to be contented becomes the playground of evil. Many people have fallen from these traps. 

Certainly, those who cannot get out of these traps will have to embrace death. The death we are referring here is not the physical death but the eternal death, which is the eternal punishment – Revelations 2:11; 20:14. 

Hell or the second death is originally designed for Satan and the rest of the demons, or fallen angels. However, since many have been deceived by the snares of death, the deceived will also be delivered unto eternal damnation. 

Take note that the book of Revelations says, “… The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.” – Revelation 2:11 NIV. Those who overcome the snares of death will be victorious and they will all escape second death. 

How did the Bible explain those who will not escape death? The book of Revelations says, “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” – Revelation 21:8 NIV

The topic teaches us to be wise and be vigilant from time to time. Apostle Peter tells us of this, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” – 1 Peter 5:8‭-‬9 NIV

The only way we can be victorious is to keep ourselves on guard always. We should never let down the faith, which is our guard. It should always be up, to constantly remind us of who we are and what we should do as faithful servants of God. 

Thus, we should turn away from all sorts of evil. The fear of God is avoiding evil – Proverbs 16:6. The devil will always find ways to overcome and deceive us, so we have to be watchful always and be strong in faith. 

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Avoiding Envy

April 27, 2017


Envy is defined as a painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with desire to possess the advantage (Merriam-Webster). 

In many cases, envy has been a destructive sin committed by many characters in the Bible. 

When Isaac  became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. So all the wells that his fatherʼs servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth. – Genesis 26:13‭-‬15 NIV

Because of jealousy, he was forced to move away from them – Gen. 26:15-19.

When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or Iʼll die!” – Genesis 30:1 NIV

Jacob was forced to have children with Rachel’s slave, Bilhah. And when Leah noticed that she stopped having children, she also took her slave, Zilpah so Jacob could have a child to her. 

Another case is the envy felt by the siblings of Joseph. They were very jealous of him – Genesis 37:11. The next events were seen that they sold their brother as a slave in Egypt – Acts 7:9. 

The worst thing that jealousy can do is to make us kill someone. This happened to Cain over his brother Abel. While Abel’s offering were accepted, his offerings did not please God. This made him envious and made him attack and kill his own brother – Genesis 4:1-14.

Apostle James wrote this on his letter, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Donʼt they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” – James 4:1‭-‬2 NIV

The desires of men, if not properly controlled will lead to killing someone. This is what envy can do to us. Apostle Paul made sure that this is included in his epistle, “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” -Galatians 5:26 NIV

He also asked the members of the church, “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.” – Romans 13:13 NIV

The key to avoid these desires of material things is “contentment and satisfaction.” If we are at peace with God, we are satisfied with what we have and what happens to us. Thus, in all things, we should learn to be grateful for what we have. 

Another key and a must to have is “trust,” “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5 NIV

Learning to be patient can help us avoid being envious of others. If we are patient, trust that God will give what is best for us. We may not receive for what we have asked, but surely, in His time, He shall reward us with His love and providence. 

Being contented means learning to adjust in whatever situation we have as a servant of God. Sufferings, trials and painful things may come, but if we really trust God above all else, then we will never learn to desire things that will lead us to love this world. We learn to accept that it is not this world and the things on it are what we should desire in life. What we should desire are those that are eternal and not temporal. 

Apostle Paul says, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” – Philippians 4:11‭-‬12 NIV

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How We Give and Not What We Give

April 23, 2017 Sermon

Coming before the Lord to Worship Him is the highest form of service we could ever give to the Lord. When we worship, we bring our gifts and offerings. This has been a custom ever since.

The Bible says, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.” -1 Chronicles 16:29 NIV

The verse tells us of the three important elements of worship. (1) our presence; (2) our present (gift or offering); and (3) our service or worship in the splendor of His holiness.

There is also a reminder that when we come to Him to worship, we should not come empty handed- Deuteronomy 16:16. Thus, an offering is really expected.

Even in the New Testament, Apostle Paul encourages the early Christians to remind themselves of this holy duty, that is, to not forget about the elements that are needed in order for a worship service be made complete.

Apostle Paul mentions, “So let’s continually offer up a sacrifice of praise through him, which is the fruit from our lips that confess his name. Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices.” – Hebrews 13:15‭-‬16 CEB

The law of God concerning offering is an important thing to understand. The ancient Israel, who were the first worshippers of God were commanded to carry consecrate to God every first born male. This includes human and animal. – Exodus 12:1-2, 14.

Then comes the commandment about the Levites, “In this way you are to set the Levites apart from the other Israelites, and the Levites will be mine.  “After you have purified the Levites and presented them as a wave offering, they are to come to do their work at the tent of meeting. They are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to me. I have taken them as my own in place of the firstborn, the first male offspring from every Israelite woman.” -Numbers 8:14‭-‬16 NIV

Thus, tithing was made as a commandment to these ancient Israel. This is the benefit that the Levites will receive for their services in the temple of God. The Bible says, ““ ‘A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord ; it is holy to the Lord . Every tithe of the herd and flock—every tenth animal that passes under the shepherdʼs rod—will be holy to the Lord .” Leviticus 27:30‭, ‬32 NIV

However, tithing was no longer commanded in the New Testament. Many commandments were ammended or changed when Christ came and this includes the law of offering. Apostle Paul tells us, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” -2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV

The offerings that the ancient Israel give is ten percent of what they have. But in the Christian times, Apostle Paul tells them to decide in their heart when they give.

Now, what do we need to understand concerning the law of offerings?

Although the law for Israel and Christians were different in terms of the quantity of offering, we will notice that God did not change “how” we are going to offer them. For God, what matters is how we give and not what we give.

The Bible says, “ ‘If what they vowed is an animal that is acceptable as an offering to the Lord , such an animal given to the Lord becomes holy. They must not exchange it or substitute a good one for a bad one, or a bad one for a good one; if they should substitute one animal for another, both it and the substitute become holy. No one may pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution. If anyone does make a substitution, both the animal and its substitute become holy and cannot be redeemed.’ ”- Leviticus 27:9‭-‬10‭, ‬33 NIV

This means that anything we offer becomes holy to the Lord. The offering should be set and respected. Whatever amount we wish to give doesn’t matter. However, make sure that we are giving with a happy heart and that we do it in faith.

Another thing, make sure that when we give our offerings,  it should not have any blemishes, defects or flaws.

Ancient Israel made mistakes with their offerings because they offer sacrifices with defects. Defects were seen not only with the animas that they offer to the Lord, but also, the wrong intentions seen in their hearts when they offer.

Just a reminder for all of us, make sure that we offer the highest form of respect and services with our gifts. Surely, God will not forget every good deed we show to Him and to others – Hebrews 6:10.

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Hold on to the Teachings

(April 13 and 16, 2017 Sermons)


Apostle Paul tells us that the teachings we received will lead us to salvation ( 1 Corinthians 15:1-2), especially if we believe and hold on firmly to God’s teachings.

However, the Bible explains that not all teachings are from God. Thus, we should be able to distinguish which one is from the Lord and which one will only deceive us.

Let us try to discuss the different types of teachings that the Bible portrays, so we will know which one to follow.  

The First type was mentioned by Apostle Paul. He said that there are deceving spirits that will make many abandon their faith. These teachings are called teachings of the demons – 1 Timothy 4:1. During the time of the Apostles, there were some who confessed that they even have scrolls (this is how they call their books during their time) of sorcery, which is an abomination to the Lord. 

These teachings involve fortune telling,  stargazing and astrology – Isaiah 47:13, 9-10, which is a wicked spirit before the Lord and has deceived many people before. Even in our present times, many still believe in sorcery, magic, fortune telling and astrology. Faithful Christians should be careful because these type of teachings are deceiving.

The ancient Israel were warned against these before, “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord ; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God.” – Deuteronomy 18:9‭-‬13 NIV

The second type is also explained by Paul. In his letter to the Colossians he mentioned about human commands and teachings – Colossians 2:22. These kind of teachings are handed down from generations to generation. These are elementary teachings of the world, taken from the lips of the fathers and passed on to their children – Matthew 15:1-3. Christ called them traditions, which later were condemned because many of these traditions do not confirm to the teachings of the Lord. 

Apostle Paul mentions that many are still enslaved by these teachings – Galatians 4:9. Among these man made teachings are those that change the meaning of the true teachings of the Lord. Anyone who serves the Lord following man’s teachings and commands is not acceptable to the Lord – Matthew 15:8-9.

Other than those, prevalent today are the beliefs of the agnostics and atheists who denies the existence of God. They solely rely on their human knowledge and understanding. They repute everything that were written in the Bible. 

Christ warned us against these false teachings. In His time, He rebuked the teachings of the Pharisees and the Sadducees – Matthew 16:11-12. The teachings of these people are although based on the laws, but their applications of these laws are not pleasing to God. That makes these teachings wrong because they interpret the laws differently. 

Apostle John also warned us against the false teachers who will come to deceive many people – “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” -1 John 4:1 NIV

Thus, we need to be wise when it comes to the teachings that we listen to. Some can be deceiving because of fine arguments – Colossians 2:4. 

Apostle Peter also writes, “He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.  Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.” -2 Peter 3:16‭-‬17 NIV

The teachings which we should firmly hold on to should be clear, not deceiving and should come from the Lord. The Lord authorized His church as the bearer of truth – Ephesians 3:10.

The Lord then called Apostles and teachers to preach the gospel of salvation – 1 Corinthians 12:27-28, and these Apostles advised us to stand firm and hold fast to the teachings that they passed on to us whether by mouth or by letter – 2 Thessalonians 2:15.

To be able to stand firm on their teachings, we should treat their teachings not as something that only came from them but from the Lord – 1 Corinthians 14:37.

The true teachings of the Lord do not deceive. They are sound instructions and can make us holy. 

Thus, we are encourage to trust these true teachings. These are not from men and from the fallacies of men, not from the wisdom of men so that our faith will not rest on human’s wisdom, but on God’s power.  

God wants us to trust His words. The wisdom of this world is only foolishness to Him. And when He called us, He chose the foolish to shame the wise, He chose the weak to shame the strong, God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. -1 Corinthians 1:28‭-‬29 NIV

Holding on to and standing firm to the words of God mean that we should be doers and not only talkers – James 1:21-22. 

Only those that follow obediently will be rewarded. They will be heirs of God’s eternal promise, the everlasting life. The Bible tells us, “Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.” -Proverbs 4:13 NIV

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The Cross We Should Carry

(April 9, 2017 Sermon)


A cross or sometimes called torture stake is defined as a structure consisting of an upright with a transverse beam used especially by ancient Romans for execution. (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

It was the same cross that Christ carried and put Him to death – Luke 23:23-26, which also put the other Apostles into executions – Matthew 23: 34. 

Christians nowadays seem to carry on the tradition of carrying the same literal cross. Some of them even have the courage to be nailed in the cross. This is their way of penitence. 

However, is this the way Christ want us to do? Are we asked to carry the cross and be nailed to it?

Actually, Christ commanded us to carry a cross. He even said that “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” – Matthew 10:38 NIV

But is this a literal stake or cross? The answer is in Mark 8:34, which reads, “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” -Mark 8:34 NIV

Here, we see a different cross, not a literal stake to be carried. We can only carry this cross if we will deny ourselves. This means we need to sacrifice something in order to follow Christ. 

Christ tells us more about the cross that we are asked to carry, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28‭-‬30 NIV

So the cross is a yoke. A yoke is defined as a  bar or frame that is attached to the heads of two workanimals (such as oxen) so that they can pull a plow or heavy load. Also,  yoke is something that causes people to be treated cruelly and unfairly especially by taking away their freedom (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

The yoke that Christ will give us is different from the modern dictionary. The yoke of Christ is easy, it is light and will give rest to anyone who will carry it. Thus, this is not a physical yoke. A physical yoke no matter how light will eventually become heavy due to the pull of earth’s gravity especially when it is carried for a long time. 

So, what is this yoke actually?

Apostle Paul explained that Christ commandments are the yoke that Christ is referring to – “Carry each otherʼs burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2 NIV

To carry the yoke means to carry each other’s burden. The law of Christ teaches us to love one another. And this should be done all the time – Luke 9:23 and not only during times that we feel we have to do it. 

Christ said that His yoke is light and the burden is easy. How will it become light and easy? 

The Bible tells us to turn away from sins that causes our lives to become burdensome – Hebrews 12:1. We need to leave our former wicked lives and start a brand new life spiritually – Ephesians 4:22-24. 

So, all that was said is for us to keep to help us carry the load that eventually lead us to eternal salvation. If we learn to love how we carry our crosses daily, then we are actually not carrying it anymore, we are actually living by it. 

 

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Reasons Why Some Turn Away from Faith

(April 2, 2017 Sermon)


Faith is important. It is our expression of how we trust God. Without it, we can not please God – Hebrews 11: 6. 

Righteous people live and walk by faith. Remove it, and they will die. Faith comes from hearing the words of God (Romans 10:17). The words of God make us alive and righteous. 

Why do some believers turn away from faith? 

Paul tells us, “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” – 1 Timothy 4:1 NIV

The works of the Devil is deceiving. It will cause many to loose their faith. It is very clear here that deceivers will come and will try to persuade believers. Some will be deceived as a consequence. These deceived ones are not deeply rooted in faith. They possess faith but it is   weak and get easily carried away. 

Others will continue but will eventually stumble from the words of God. The words of God will cause them to fall because they were hurt and do not accept the righteousness, teachings, advise and rebukes. Even at the time of Christ, many disciples have turned away from Him because of His words – John 6:61, 66. 

If these believers have been deceived and stumbled, and turned away from faith, this could also happen to anyone of us.

The topic aims to clearly warn us from what happened to them. May their stories serve as a valuable lesson to us so that we continue to dwell in spirit, and be careful so that we will not be deceived. 

What can make us strong in faith is the thought that we are children of God. And as children, we cannot allow that we can be deceived. Let us focus on our goal. Work on that goal, which is to inherit the promised eternal life. If we are focused, then nothing can distruct us.  

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