My Redeemer Liveth

Penang Assemblies Combined Easter Conference 2017: Session 4 (final).

Speaker: Dr Peter Wong

Job 19:23-27 (ESV)

23 Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book!

24 Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever!

25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth.

26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God,

27 whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another…

Job lived long before the time of Christ. Most Bible scholars think he lived close to the time of Abraham; it is not possible to date the Book of Job precisely, whether from internal or external evidence.

Job did not have “the scriptures” – neither in the sense of the word as we use it today to refer to the whole Bible, or even in the sense of 1 Corinthians 15:3,4, where “the scriptures” refers to the Old Testament, which foretold and foreshadowed the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

When Job lived, Moses had not yet written down the Book of Genesis, even!

But we know from the Book of Job that he was an upright man, who feared God. Satan was not happy about that. So Satan said bad things about Job to God, claiming that Job only honoured God because God had protected Job and blessed Job.

Take away Your protection and blessings from Job, taunted Satan, and Job will curse You to Your face!

God then allowed Satan to afflict Job. Job lost his possessions, his children, his health.

We know Job’s famous response:

“The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!” (Job 1:21)

In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong (Job 1:22).

And when even Job’s wife in her despair and anger asked Job to curse God and die, Job’s answer was, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10).

In all this Job did not sin with his lips (Job 2:10).

 

Not that Job was a sinless man. There is none righteous, no not one. But Job feared God. And, as we shall learn as we consider Job 19:25-27, he put his trust in God as his Redeemer. Job was a sinner, but Job was redeemed!

Because Job was redeemed, Satan had no winning case against him in the courtroom of heaven. God permitted Satan to accuse and attack Job, but Job’s eternal security was never in question. Though Job might lose his wealth, his family, his friends, Job could never lose what he chose to place in God’s hands – his soul.

Job was far from faultless, but because he was redeemed, God would deal with Job’s faults privately, as a father disciplines his son (chapters 38 to 41), leading to Job’s repentance and restoration (chapter 42).

 

Even in this brief review of Job’s life, can we not see the similarities between Job and us, who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ in the dispensation of grace?

Yes, there are key differences – as I mentioned just now, Job did not have the scriptures; and as we considered last night, there are differences between Old Testament saints and New Testament saints as to how we come to salvation – although ultimately their salvation and ours alike hinge on the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But again I say, Job did not have the scriptures! How then did he know to turn to the one Redeemer who could save him?

I must emphasise, today we DO have the scriptures – we have the Bible, the Word of God. And it is the Good News of Jesus Christ found in the Word of God which must be preached to the lost. We must preach Christ crucified – we must tell those who are not yet in Christ that there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

But Job lived under a different dispensation – a different stage in God’s revelation of His one plan of salvation.

Job had a lot less revelation than we did. Yet Job knew certain things that amaze us that he knew.

The last 3 of the verses we read from Job 19 tell us some surprising things that Job knew, that Job believed.

The words of Job testifying to these glorious truths, coming in the midst of Job’s cries of despair, shine all the brighter because of the darkness of their setting.

Let’s look at these verses again carefully!

 

Job 19:25-27 (ESV)

25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth.

26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God,

27 whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another…

 

First, let’s make sure we understand the “big word” in this passage, the most difficult word if you haven’t come across it before: Redeemer.

Who or what is a redeemer?

A redeemer is someone who redeems, or claims back, or buys back, something that was taken away or lost.

The word redeem means “to buy out”. It’s a word that was used to refer to purchasing a slave’s freedom.

The Bible says that Jesus Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13), meaning, when we were sinners under the curse of the law, the Lord Jesus paid a price to free us from the curse of the law.

We had become slaves to sin, but the Lord Jesus bought us out of slavery to sin; He paid the price to secure our freedom.

That’s why Christians call the Lord Jesus Christ our Redeemer.

 

Now that we understand what “Redeemer” means, let’s scrutinise Job’s words in verses 25 to 27.

 

Let’s observe that in verse 25, Job said “I know”.

I know that my Redeemer lives”!

He did not say, “I think that my Redeemer lives”.

Nor “I hope that my Redeemer lives”.

How could he know? How could he be sure of the divine truths in these 3 verses?

Surely God had revealed this to Job. Without revelation, there can be no faith. Faith is a response to revelation. Faith is believing what God has told us.

Job had no written Word of God, but he must have heard word from God.

God may not have sent his prophets yet, but we do know from Job chapters 38 to 41 that it is not beneath God for Him to communicate directly with a man, even a sinner.

God had clearly revealed wonderful things to Job. Whether through the quiet working of the Holy Spirit in Job’s heart, or through dreams, or through forceful words as in Job 38 to 41, we don’t know, but God spoke to Job.

We pause here for a devotional application to us. Hebrews 1:2 says that in these last days, God has spoken to us by His Son. What a privilege, that Job did not have! To have the Lord Jesus Christ as God’s communication to us. To have encountered the Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). God Himself said, “This is My beloved Son: hear Him!” (Luke 9:35).

Have we sat at the Lord Jesus’ feet today (as Mary of Bethany did), and listened to Him? Have we met Him in the pages of the Bible? How often do we go to meet Him there?

 

Coming back to Job 19, next please notice with me that Job said, “I know that my Redeemer lives”!

He did not say “the Redeemer”.

He did not say “a Redeemer”.

He said “my Redeemer”!

Job knew that he needed, and that he had, a personal Saviour.

We all need a personal Saviour. I too have one – the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you?

 

Job says that His Redeemer lives. He had a living Saviour.

I too have one – the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you?

 

And although in this darkest time in Job’s life, when all seemed lost and he was in excruciating pain, Job could not yet see His Redeemer, He believed that he would one day see Him! So sure was Job, that he repeatedly said this – “in my flesh I shall see”; “I shall see for myself”; “my eyes shall behold”.

 

What did Job know about this Redeemer, whom He knew he would one day see?

  • That He was not then on the earth, but would one day be.
  • That He was God.
  • That He was not a stranger.

 

Let’s take these 3 points about Job’s Redeemer one by one.

 

  • That He was not then on the earth, but would one day be! Job’s Redeemer was not one of his friends, who had come to sit with him; it was not any man, for until man travelled to outer space in the 20th century, the only place that man inhabited was the earth! So who could this Redeemer who was not on the earth, but would come to the earth, be? Either a celestial being, or God Himself!

 

  • Job then asserts that He was God! Indeed I believe that is what Job means in verse 26 when He says “I shall see God”. He had just been taking about meeting his Redeemer in verse 25, and then in the same breath mentions God. Notice the flow from verse 25 to verse 26: “My Redeemer… God”. Instead of pairing rhyming words, Hebrew poetry pairs matching ideas. “My Redeemer” in verse 25 pairs with “God” in verse 26. I believe that Job knew that his Redeemer is God.

 

  • That He was not a stranger. That’s the meaning I gather from the phrase “not another” in Job 19:27. The ASV translates this verse like this:

“Whom I, even I, shall see, on my side. And mine eyes shall behold, and not as a stranger…”

Job’s Redeemer is someone who knows Him – someone close to Him; and not a stranger.

The Hebrew word for Redeemer here in Job 19:27 is goel, which refers to a relative who buys back for someone a possession that had been lost. Indeed, Job’s Redeemer is a Kinsman-Redeemer, a goel. He is God, took the form of a Man, in order to be our Kinsman-Redeemer.

 

So, wondrously, Job knew that he had a Redeemer; a living Redeemer; not an impersonal and distant one, but his Redeemer, a kinsman; who would stand one day on earth; who is God; and whom he would meet face-to-face one day, seeing Him with his own eyes.

All so true of our Lord Jesus Christ to us!

I wonder if, when Christ opened the scriptures to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, beginning at Moses and all the prophets expounding the things about Himself, He pointed them to the faith of His servant Job.

 

Is there something else that we have missed in these 3 verses? Perhaps there is! Look again at verse 26.

“And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.”

Maybe Job simply meant that even though he was covered in boils, even though he looked and felt so aweful, even though his flesh was destroyed, it was no obstacle to meeting God face-to-face.

Or maybe not. Maybe, even tough Job was not under Mosaic law or nor did he know the teachings of Leviticus yet, Job might yet have had a sense that in his state, he was “unclean” and unable to meet a holy God.

Maybe Job believed that the way he would see God in the last day would be to be given a new body! A resurrection body!

Had God give Job a revelation concerning resurrection?

Was Job a believer in resurrection, as Abraham was according to Hebrews 11:19 (which we studied at Island Glades this morning)?

I don’t know for sure.

Job may not have been very clear about that himself.

But Job was not ashamed to declare what he knew, what he believed, to others.

Regardless of his own sorry condition, Job wanted others to know about his Redeemer!

He wanted his friends to know! He wanted the world to know! My, he even wanted future generations to know!

The first 2 verses we read from Job 19 just now tells us so! Job 19:23,24.

Job said, “Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book!

Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever!”

Job desired to testify about his Redeemer.

 

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we in half as sorry a state as Job? Maybe not even 10% as sorry a state. Last I checked, I hadn’t lost any livestock, my children are still alive and I have no boils on my skin.

Yet, are we half as enthusiastic as Job was about proclaiming his Redeemer?

 

Tonight we witnessed the baptism of Choo Ean, Tracy, Xiao Hui, Siew Hin, Weiking and Chun Kean.

Do you know why they went through the waters of baptism?

They did it as a public testimony of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Like Job, they wanted others to know that their Redeemer lives!

Romans 6:4 – “we were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

Tonight, when these 6 brothers and sisters went into the water, they were identifying with Christ in His death – Christ our Passover; and when they emerged from the water, they were testifying of the power of God to both raise Christ the Firstfruits from the dead, and if they should “fall asleep” before the rapture, also raise them from the dead as the promised harvest after the firstfruits! And to meanwhile wait for His Son from heaven, whilst enabling them to lead new, holy lives!

 

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we continually testifying for the Lord Jesus? We must ask ourselves this question tonight, whether we’re new believers, or saved and baptised years or decades ago. Even if you’re like me baptised in the last century. Have we forgotten why we went through the waters of baptism? Are we still telling others about Him? Are we walking in newness of life, walking with our risen Lord?

 

Dear friends who have not yet trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ – it is no coincidence that you are here tonight. Maybe you are a seeker who has been searching for answers for many years. Maybe you came just to support your friend or family member being baptised. Or maybe you came here to meet people, and are not looking to meet the Saviour. It doesn’t matter why you came: tonight you have heard that we all need a Saviour. A personal Saviour. A living Saviour.

Jesus Christ died for our sins on the cross, and rose again from the dead on the third day. Christians remember this not just at Easter, but week after week when we meet the first day of the week to break bread. Dear friend, come speak to me, or to one of your Christian friends tonight after this meeting, and ask why that is so precious to us.

It is our desire that you too come to know our Redeemer, that you may like us have life eternal and joy everlasting!

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved!

 

IGGC as the organizers extend our thanks to all the combined Penang assemblies for their love, support, and selfless contributions joyously serving together to make the Penang Assemblies Easter Conference 2017 a rich and rewarding experience of God.

Abraham Reckoned

Penang Assemblies Combined Easter Conference 2017: Session 3.

Speaker: Dr Peter Wong

Genesis 22:1-18

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.” ~Hebrews‬ ‭11:17-19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

 

“Abraham reckoned that God was able to raise Isaac from death — and, so to speak, Abraham did receive Isaac back from death.” ~‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:19‬ ‭Good News Bible

Abraham lived in 2000 BC.
When Abraham first received promised to be made a great nation, he and his wife were old and childless.
They left a stable home to live a life in tents.

Abraham at age 86 tried to foolishly help God by fathering a child, Ishmael with Sarah’s Egyptian maid servant Hagar.

God then blessed Abraham and Sarah with a son Isaac.
Isaac is now grown to be a young lad and Abraham is then asked to sacrifice Isaac.

 

Why did God ask Abraham to sacrifice his child?

Especially when human sacrifice is an abomination (Deuteronomy 12:31).

Is it just a test? No.
1. God has the right to take human life. (Matthew 28)
2. God can authorise men to take men’s life
3. God is not capable of evil (John 1:5)
4. If sacrificing Isaac was evil, God would not ask Abraham to do it.

The sacrifice of Isaac was right as God does no evil.

God does expect us to make a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).
To be holy consumed like a burnt offering.

Imagine what Abraham felt. Son. Only son. Only son whom you love. Like a knife plunged deeper and deeper.

 

How did Abraham respond

He obeyed immediately without delay. Abraham was determined to be fully equipped to prepare God’s command bringing woods.

What did Abraham bring?
• 2 servants
• Chopped wood
• Isaac, his son

At the centre was always his son.
Abraham had time to think carefully on 3 day journey about giving his most precious possession.

Worship (v5).
First mention of worship in the Bible.
Teaches an important lesson and sets tone for rest of Bible.

 

What is truly worship?

More than songs of praise in a big church building with many people in attendance.
Worship literally means to bow down.
Not truly worshiping God unless you bow down before God’s will.
Abraham’s worship is private without the servants.
Only in the secret place of our own hearts can we truly worship the Lord.
Do we come to Sunday worship with our hearts bowed down?

Abraham told his two servants that he and his son will come again to them.
Was Abraham deceiving his servants?
Was Abraham hoping that God would change His mind?
Abraham had already thought things carefully and knew that through Isaac, he would be the father of a great nation.
It must mean that God will raise Isaac from the dead.
No resurrection yet known at that point.
Abraham believed in resurrection.

Isaac obediently went together.
Isaac carried the wood.
Abraham provided a thoughtful answer that “God will provide Himself a lamb”
Abraham didn’t know it, but these words were literally proven true.
Fulfilment echo across 2000 years to the words of John the Baptist.

“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
‭~ John‬ ‭1:29‬ ‭ESV‬‬

To all intent and purposes, Abraham had obeyed and offered up Isaac already in his heart.

“Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?” ~‭‭James‬ ‭2:21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

In fact you could say that Isaac was dead for 3 days.

When God stopped Isaac from killing his son.
It was as if his dead son had come back to life.

If you had bumped into Abraham and Isaac, Abraham may have said, “Meet my son Isaac. He was dead but is alive again.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ did die for us on Calvary.
(Calvary could possibly be the very same mountain in the region).

There was no cancellation of the burnt offering.
The ram was Isaac’s substitute on the altar.
For us, there was no substitute for the Lord Jesus Christ as He was our substitute.

Important that ram was caught by its horns.
If caught elsewhere, would have been blemished.

Even though Abraham’s son was spared, God did not spare His own son.
How deep the father’s love for us that He should give His only son.

 

First mention of the word “obey”.

How has Abraham obeyed God?
Giving up his most treasured possession.
No holding back.
Don’t hold back anything for God who for your sake did not withhold His only begotten son.

First mention of the word “love” (Genesis 22:2).

Refers to father’s love for his son. (Not man and wife or other type of love).
Abraham’s love for Isaac is a picture of love of God the Father for God the son.

First mention of the word “love” in New Testament.

“And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”” ~ Matthew‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 

“And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”” ~ Mark‬ ‭1:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 

“and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”” ~ Luke‬ ‭3:22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God’s son is at the centre of His plan of salvation and master plan for all creation.
Is God’s son at the centre of your life?

Christ the Firstfruits

Penang Assemblies Combined Easter Conference 2017: Session 2.

Speaker: Dr Peter Wong

Day 2 (3)

“And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the LORD. Its grain offering shall be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to the LORD, for a sweet aroma; and its drink offering shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin. You shall eat neither bread nor parched grain nor fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your God; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.” ~‭‭Leviticus‬ ‭23:9-14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

 

“Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.” ~‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:12-23‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Feasts foreshadow future
1. Passover: Christ dying on the cross
2. Unleavened Bread: Communion of believers
3. Firstfruits: Resurrection of Christ
4. Pentecost: Descent of the Holy Spirit
Last 3 feasts events in the future
5. Trumpets: Israel’s redemption and awakening
6. Atonement: Israel’s restoration
7. Tabernacles: God’s eternal kingdom

Recommended reading: Feasts of Jehovah by John Ritchie

feasts-of-jehovah

Passover is on a specific day: 14th day of the first month for 7 days.
Firstfruits is not assigned a specific date (unlike Passover and Unleavened Bread).
But Firstfruits is on a fixed day of the week (the 1st Sunday after the Sabbath Passover).

Offering required of Israelites
• Sheath of grain
• Burnt offering 1 year old male lamb
• Flour offering
• Drink offering of wine
Is there any offering missing? (Read on below)

What lessons could the Israelites learn from this?
To Jews: in the midst of prosperity, the claims of Jehovah were to be first remembered. What God blesses them, first give a portion to God.
Firstfruits is a successful joyous celebration.

Perfectly fulfilled picture or type of feast of firstfruits.
The timing of the resurrection on Sunday after Sabbath of Passover.

Sheath of grain in expectation of harvest which would follow.
Likewise Christ in His uniqueness and preeminence resurrection, and then many others would follow.

They who are Christ’s at His coming. (1 Cor 15:23)

1st resurrection (Rev 20:5)
2nd resurrection (John 5:29)

Resurrection of life, and damnation.
Resurrection of the just, and unjust.

Two resurrections are 1,000 years apart.

1st Resurrection
Resurrection of God’s people.
Resurrection from among the dead.
“Out” resurrection meaning never to die again.

2nd Resurrection
Where the lost are raised.
To face judgment.
Nowhere in Bible is this called as resurrection from among the dead (but “of the dead”).
Bible considers them still dead.

Paul’s letters often refer to “in Christ” referring to New Testament saints.
Those “who are Christ’s at His coming” covers a larger group:-
1. Old Testament saints
2. Infant & children who have yet to reach the age of accountability
3. Tribulation saints

1. Old Testament Saints
Job, David & other OT saints died before the time of Christ.
For us, we look back at the past and are saved by grace through faith.
For them, they were also saved by the cross – looking forward to the Messiah.
Even the first animal that had to die when Adam & Eve sinned.

2. Infants and Children
2 Samuel 12:22-23
Matthew 18:10-11

3. Tribulation Saints
Those who turn to Christ after the rapture of the church. They will be martyred and be with Christ after the 7 year tribulation.

But each one in his own order (1 Corinthians 15:23)

Christ at the head of the army.
Followed by resurrected.
Lastly tribulation saints.

Christ is the firstfruits.
Main harvest: 1st resurrection
Tribulation saints: gleanings

What do the waving of sheathes of grain signify?
Leveticus 23 ESV: so you may be accepted

What is the significance of Christ the firstfruit?
God’s acceptance of the sacrifice of Christ.
More than that, God’s acceptance of believers together with Christ because of what He has done.
This is as Christ has made the end of all the sins.

Which Levitical offering is not mentioned?
No sin offering!

“so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” ~‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭9:28‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Christ completed the work atoning for our sin.
From that point on no more sin offering.
It is Christ’s resurrection that declared sins are forever gone for those who believe.

God accepts us in Christ (Ephesians 1:6).
Risen with Christ (Colossians 3:1).
God has raised us together with Christ (Ephesians 2:5).
Christ raised for our justification (Romans 4:25).

The one who is the waved sheath – Christ

“And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.” ~‭‭Colossians‬ ‭1:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Firstfruits and the first born from the dead.

Is Christ’s resurrection the first one from the dead?
No. Six resurrections are recorded in Bible before:-
1. Son of widow of Zarephath raised by Elijah
2. Son of Shunammite’s son raised by Elishah
3. Body of man who touched Elisha’s bones
4. Son of widow of Nain raised by Christ
5. Daughter of Jairus raised by Christ
6. Lazarus raised by Christ
Thus Christ is the 7th resurrection.

How then is Christ the 1st resurrection?
All of them temporarily and all of them died again.
Christ is triumphant over death and raised never to die again.
Christ is raised with a spiritual body.

Christ is first raised and we shall follow.

I will make him my firstborn (Exodus 4:22).

Let all angels revere Him (Hebrews 1:6).

By the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ was declared to be the son of God with power. In everything He may be preeminent (Romans 1:4).

Preeminent: unrivalled; Having first place of the highest rank

 

Does the Lord Jesus Christ have preeminence on your life?

Is He unrivaled among all things? Does He have first place in your heart?

What do you think God felt when Christ presented Himself as the firstfruit?
God is delighted with the offering of firstfruits. How much more God’s delight must have been on resurrection morning as the perfect fulfillment of the foreshadow.

What will occupy your heart as you go from hear tonight?
Will your heart be occupied with Christ our firstfruit?
Will your life be transformed?
Will you point others to our unique preeminent Lord Jesus Christ who is alone the Savior, Passover lamb and firstfruit.

Christ Our Passover

Penang Assemblies Combined Easter Conference 2017: Session 1.

Speaker: Dr Peter Wong

“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.” ~ ‭‭I Corinthians‬ ‭15:3-8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Context/Background
Corinth was a young, richly blessed assembly eagerly using their gifts.
Problems faced:
• Divisive rivalries
• Defilement
• Disorderliness at meetings
• Disregarding others interest
• Denying important doctrines (including resurrection)

Truths
Christ the messiah foretold & foreshadowed in Old Testament
• He died for our sins
• He was buried
• But His tomb was empty
• He is risen

Paul makes a further point: according to the scripture (mentioned twice!)

Where was the Lord Jesus Christ on His first resurrection Sunday?

“And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

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?”” ~‭‭Luke‬ ‭24:27, 32‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Christ our Passover

Exodus 12 ESV

There is none righteous.
The wages of sin is death.
Substitution of a life for a life.
A redemption of blood.

Pasah” in Passover means spreading.

“For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you.” ~‭‭Exodus‬ ‭12:23‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The hand of the Lord is for all who trust Him & His wrath for all who forsake Him.
No option for us to be neutral.

Did the blood of the Passover lamb save the life of the Israelites firstborns?
Yes

Did the blood take away the sins of the Israelites?
No (Hebrews 10:4)

John the Baptist testified on Him (John 1:29)

Our key verse tells us that true Passover the Lamb is our Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ foreshadowed
• Without blemish and flawless
• Checked thoroughly
• Displayed publicly

Passover lamb with unleavened bread & bitter herbs.
Leaven a picture of sin as a tiny bit of leaven causes the bread to be drastically transformed.
Causes bread to be puffed up – like pride in men.
Each generation of men inherit the sin of Adam.
The feast of unleavened bread for 7 more days.
All traces of leaven was needed to be removed from the Israelites home.
It’s an object lesson that sin must & can be removed – with the Passover lamb.
They reflects the breaking of the sin nature.

Because Christ has died as our Passover lamb we can & must purge all traces of sinful ways from our lives. Live lives of sincerity and truth.

The order is important
1. Passover
2. Feast of unleavened bread

Israelites put away leaven because they had been saved (and not the other way around).
We are saved by grace not by works. We are saved for good works. After we have been saved, we must be involved in good works.
There is no pause between the Passover and feast.
Likewise when a person trusts Jesus, there is no more room for sin in our lives.
Christ has finished the work of redemption on the cross.

In summary: We are not holy in order to be saved. We are saved in order to be holy. All who are saved must be holy.

Why bitter herbs?
Remind Israelites on their lives as slaves.
Speak to us of the suffering of Jesus Christ.
Like the hymn:

O Christ, what burdens bowed Thy head!
Our load was laid on Thee;
Thou stoodest in the sinner’s stead,
Didst bear all ill for me.
A Victim led, Thy blood was shed;
Now there’s no load for me.

Death and the curse were in our cup:
O Christ, ’twas full for Thee;
But Thou hast drained the last dark drop,
’Tis empty now for me.
That bitter cup, love drank it up;
Now blessing’s draught for me.

In what matter Passover meal eaten?
In haste. Ready to leave at a moments notice. Belt faster, sandals on feet, and staff in hand.
We who are redeemed are to be ready to go whenever called or when raptured.
Are we ready? Be watchful like soldiers on night duty, and not asleep.
We are called to be sojourners on earth (not tourists).

The Passover changed everything for the Israelites. Everything would be new after that. They would experience the provision of God in the wilderness. Their lives would never be the same again.

So must it be for us being saved by the blood of Christ. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” ~‭‭I Corinthians‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Solomon’s Wisdom

Solomon’s Wisdom
By Johnny

scenery

Ecclesiastes 1

Knowledge of what is right & for wrong is NOT the same as doing what is right & wrong.
God wants all of us to have a change in life.
Solomon looked to the finest things in life to see what he could derive the greatest pleasure from.
When a person has something, he/she always wants more. Eventually gets to the point there is little excitement/enjoyment.
Solomon built palaces & beautiful architecture.

We need to be thankful for what God has blessed us with – however much/little.

Truths about pleasure
• If we are concerned on pleasure we may become selfish
• People who exploit others for pleasure usually end up being despaired
• Possessions, money, pleasure & fame will not give lasting pleasure.

When you pass away, do you want your eulogy to talk about the amount of pleasure you’ve had or your legacy and things you have done.

We are to get out of that & know what He wants us to do in our lives.
We are God’s channel to bring hope & joy to others.

Look at your life. We are going to account to God.

God says love me with your strength.

“Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22:37‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The Lord is not against us having a good life but what we need to do is for Him to be the centre of our lives.

No matter how successful in life a person may have, sorely lacking if the person does not have a loving relationship with the Lord.

God has placed within us the HS to help us. For us to be immersed in Him.

In situations we need help, know that God is there for us. Our present situation need not be our conclusion.

Set our minds on heavenly things.
Not on what we can get for now but what will have in the future.
God is our sustenance & he gives us our providence.
Be aware of what God is doing in our lives.
We have a common purpose & common Alice.
Let us move as the way the Lord wants us to.

Conclusion
To allow the winds of God to direct us in our lives.

Watch Night Message

Watch Night Message
By Cheah

newyear

Love the Lord your God.
Joshua reminded the people that not one promise of God failed.
They had forgotten God and His commandments until God’s reminder.

See opportunities for service to the glory of God as we see the year 2017 ahead of us.
Leaders care about the right things and they care in the right way – an attitude of attentiveness and what happens next..
God may place countless opportunities before us but we may miss them if we are not prepared to lead.

Moses cared and delivered the Israelites from Egypt.
David card and brought the kingdom back to the Lord
Esther cared at the risk of her life to save her nation from genocide.
Jesus cared and died on the cross for us.
Versus people with a couldn’t be bothered attitude.

Lessons learnt:
• Caring attitude
• Attentiveness
• Serving opportunities
• All these are to glorify God

Nehemiah was careful and wise.
Theme in Nehemiah is Godly leadership but is beneficial to everyone.
God has been with Nehemiah at the restoration of the wall.

In this assembly, all the names of people are known.
There are opportunities for service for everyone.
If on any duties, do your job & give your best.
Whatever you do, Christ is preeminent.
A call as well to all who have believed and are not baptised yet, to do so.
For all of us to be punctual, have our hearts settled and give God preeminence.

May we place importance on loving you, praising you and enable us to do your will as we come into the new year.

Grace

Thursday prayer meeting sharing on grace
By Cheah

grace

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach Godʼs throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4:14-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Grace is only for Christians.
Grace is a facet of God’s character.
God in His love towards us has given us a lot of things that we take for granted.
A tremendous area of our victory.
We can hold firmly, nothing can shake us.

High priest that has gone through all human suffering.
He understood because had undergone all the suffering.
Concerns can be brought up to this high priest.
Can bring anything up to him – to lay before Him all the comfort we need.
An invitation to us as we are presently saved & doing the will of God.
We may face certain problems or setback.
The throne of grace is available for us to approach in our time of need.

Grace, no longer by works.
Grace is following up on the unlovable & making it lovely.
Grace is more than mercy & love.
This love is from a sovereign God.
He took on flesh to die for our sins.
It’s God’s grace that saves us.

Grace is a character of God only experienced by those who have a special relationship with Him.
Accepting God as savior & restoring that relationship.
His love and His mercy reserved for His elect.
The way of salvation is already established with God’s foreknowledge.
God will watch over us until the very end.
Grace cannot be bought, sold or merited.
We cannot earn His grace
It is by grace we haven saved.
We have an inheritance that is very sure for we are co-heirs with Christ.

The Essential Pillars for Christian Living

Today I would like to share with you all on the topic of “The Essential Pillars for Christian Living”
By Kelvin

pillars

What are pillars?  Pillars are tall vertical structures of stone, wood, or metal, used as a support for a building. In a building, there are actually 2 types of pillars, one would be pillars like I just mentioned that play a critical role in providing support to a structure, the other would be ornamental pillars. The pillars are actually embellishments built to satisfy the eye.  Today the sad news is many churches have constructed a few decorative pillars of their own, especially in the lives of their people. Churches are of late stressing on style rather than content. Content is out, style is in. What results is the existence of phony, decorative pillars in the lives of people which will ultimately delude them into a false sense of their salvation and spiritual maturity.

So what are the core pillars that should exist in a Christian character? I will be touching on just 4 points this morning

  • Faith
  • Obedience
  • Humbleness
  • Love

I’ll be sharing on these few points this morning. We will be looking at a few passages on what the bible says about this together with a few bible characters who exemplify these traits and how we can use these things that we have learnt and make it relevant today.

Let’s move on to our first point. FAITH!

Unknowingly perhaps to every one of us, faith or trust underlies how everyone lives. We drink water for various reasons and trust that it has been safely processed. We trust that food we purchase at the supermarket or that we eat at a restaurant is uncontaminated. You buy a mobile phone and you hope that the phone will outlast your warranty….. Every day we exercise an innate faith in someone or something.

Example 1: Aunty and Minyak angin

Example 2: Doctor and diabetic patient ( A person that hasn’t lost faith)

What is then Spiritual Faith?

When you have spiritual faith, you willingly accept basic ideas and act on many things you don’t understand. By faith a Christian believes everything to be true that is made known in the Word in which God speaks.

A good example here on faith would be Habakkuk. Judah at that time of Habakkuk was in bad shape. The people did evil in God’s sight. Just a brief history on Habakkuk to help us understand better, Habakkuk was a prophet who ministered in the late seventh century during the last days of Assyria’s power and the beginning days of Babylon’s rule. At that time justice and faithfulness was something that is short of in Judah and there was much wickedness and violence throughout the land.

Habakkuk’s Complaint

How long, Lord, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.
Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.

Habakkuk 1:2-4

In the next passage God gives Habakkuk an answer he least expects it.

Habakkuk 1:5-11New International Version (NIV)

The Lord’s Answer

“Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.
I am raising up the Babylonians,[a]
that ruthless and impetuous people,
who sweep across the whole earth
to seize dwellings not their own.
They are a feared and dreaded people;
they are a law to themselves
and promote their own honor.
Their horses are swifter than leopards,
fiercer than wolves at dusk.
Their cavalry gallops headlong;
their horsemen come from afar.
They fly like an eagle swooping to devour;
    they all come intent on violence.
Their hordes[b] advance like a desert wind
and gather prisoners like sand.
10 They mock kings
and scoff at rulers.
They laugh at all fortified cities;
by building earthen ramps they capture them.
11 Then they sweep past like the wind and go on—
guilty people, whose own strength is their god.”

God’s answer only intensified Habakkuk’s bewilderment, because it was not what Habakkuk had expected or wanted to hear. How can God use the Chaldeans, a pagan people who were essentially sinners to judge and punish the people. Who are the Chaldeans? Mr Ung dealt with the study on Habakkuk sometime back but let me refresh you. The Chaldeans were basically a sinful,self-centered and ruthless people. So how could God use them?

Habakkuk’s puzzling dilemma definitely could not be solved with Human wisdom. Because he did not understand God’s plan, the prophet looked at theology “Art Thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy one.

At the height of his confusion, he realized he could not answer his questions alone. Habakkuk reached out to what he knew to be true about God. First he recognized that God is eternal, Past, present, future, God is there. Habakkuk knew that God is in charge. Brothers and sisters our God is omnipotent and nothing ever gets beyond his control. Habakkuk also knows that God’s is holy. With that He does not make mistakes and He perfectly carries out His program. Habakkuk needed to find a secure spiritual footing in his understanding of who God is and what he does.Habakkuk realizes that God would remain faithful and not destroy Judah since He had to fulfill the promised covenant made with Abraham, which guaranteed a kingdom, a future and salavation.Habakkuk can say at the end “ I see and accept what’s going on”

In Galatians 2:20, the apostle Paul gives this testimony to the life of faith:

 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Paul is simply saying that he and all other genuine believers in Christ live their lives constantly trusting in the Saviour. It’s clear, then that the first great Christian attitude, faith, begins at salvation and will characterize your entire Christian life. It is the foundational pillar on which to build your life if you claim to love Jesus Christ.

Church, this is what is happening in the world. The thing that has threatened the faith of many has been the problem of history. Why does God allow things to happen the way they do? Why does he permit such terrible events to occur in human history? I recently saw the results of a survey of the questions that non-Christian students were asking on campuses around our country. Number one on the list was: “How can a just or loving God allow men to suffer? Why would God create us and then allow disease and starvation and all those other terrible things?”

Now there are many who ask that question today and many whose faith is actually faltering because of this. They are saying, “How can this be? What kind of a universe do we live in?” Of course, others are quick to supply an answer. They say, “Well, the answer is that there is no God and it is no use thinking there is one. We are living in a machine-like universe, with ponderously clanking gears, and nobody really knows what makes it operate. Chance put it all together. You only fool yourself when you imagine a father image out of the desire of your heart, and you call it God.”

The reason they say this is because of the apparent inactivity of God. That is one of the mysterious things about God, isn’t it? The poet, William Cowper, said, “God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform.” And the ways of God are full of mystery to us. We have to recognize that there are times when we just cannot understand how God is moving. It does not seem to make sense, and the instruments he chooses are sometimes so out of the ordinary. God is so unorthodox. He is always doing things the wrong way, and picking up the wrong people and operating in the most surprising fashion. One of the things that you learn about God after you live with him for a while is that he is always doing the unexpected. It is not because he delights to puzzle us, but because the varieties of his workings are so infinite that our feeble human minds cannot grasp them.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8

Brothers and sisters as Christians when we faced challenges in life, have faith. Stand firm on your faith. But the first thing we always do is Lord please help me solve my problems, please give me the ability to do this do that. That is not faith that is asking God to do what you want. Our perspective on things needs to change. The right attitude would be just let go and let God take control knowing that he can see you through.

Question:Would you rather worship a God whom you can fully understand or your minds can fully comprehend or would you worship a God that is infinite and beyond your comprehension.

It’s clear then, that the first great Christian attitude, faith begins at salvation and will characterize your entire Christian Life. Faith is the foundational pillar on which to build your life.

Obedience

The next pillar that I would like to touch on is obedience. Why? Simply because faith and obedience is inseparable. Let’s re-visit the Great Commission,

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Verse 19 is about reaching out to others but verse 20 builds on the new converts’ salvation experience. That’s when discipleship comes into the picture. The new believers will teach new Christians to obey God’s commands in His word and to submit to Him. Obedience is so foundational in a Christian. One cannot profess that he believes in God and just completely disregard the instructions found in the Word of God. Let’s see what John the apostle has to say about this. Please turn your bibles to

John 8:31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.

John 15:10New International Version (NIV)

10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

1 John 2:3-4New International Version (NIV)

Love and Hatred for Fellow Believers

We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.

Obedience is an integral part of one’s salvation. In fact,the apostle Peter describes salvation as an act of obedience. The truth, is the Gospel, which in essence is a command to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15) In the New Testament, the gospel message was always preached as a command (e.g Matt 3:2;4:17 and Mark 6:12) Because it is a command, it calls for obedience .

Brothers and sisters remember the time when we prayed the sinners’ prayer.  We acknowledge that God is our Savior, and we also say that we acknowledge you as Lord of our lives. We want to be saved! But we fail to accept his Lordship over our lives.

Turn your bibles with me to 1 Peter 1:2

1 Peter 1:2New International Version (NIV)

who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Woah…… What does this mean?

I’m going to take you back to the Old Testament now. To the time of Moses. To the book of Exodus.

We all know the story, Moses, about Moses receiving God’s law ( The 10 Commandments)

In Exodus 24, Moses has just recently received God’s law On Mt Sinai. Before this, God revealed His will and ways to His people in different ways. From that moment on it was written down clearly. Moses told the people about the law and the people said “We will obey all that we’ve heard” From that moment, a covenant was formed. A covenant, between God and the people. Here comes the interesting part, the next morning Moses built an altar at the foot of Mt Sinai to publicly symbolize the sealing of the covenant made the previous day between God and the people. The altar consisted of 12 stones symbolizing the 12 tribes of Israel. A burnt offering was made in the form of young bulls. Pay attention to what Moses did next, The blood from the young bulls, half of the blood remained in large basins and the other half Moses splattered on the altar which represented God. The splattering of the blood was the next symbolic step Moses took to ratify (make official) the covenant.

Because the covenant was so important, Moses actually repeated what he said the night before to the people. The people then responded again “All the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient. The final step that Moses did was by sealing the covenant made between God and the people by taking the blood from the basins and splattering it on the people. Blood was the physical demonstration that a commitment has been made between the parties. The blood on the altar symbolized God’s agreement to reveal His law; the blood on the people symbolized their agreement to obey that law.

With that we now can see the symbolism of Exodus 24:3-8 and the statement that Peter made about salvation in 1 Peter 1:2. When Peter says “ and be sprinkled with His blood,” the apostle simply means that when a believer trusts Christ, he accepts His part of the new covenant. So church, salvation was and is a covenant of obedience. God offered His word, His means of grace, His blessings and care and we responded by promising to obey. It’s as if the blood that was splattered on Christ the perfect sacrifice was then splattered on us because of our acceptance of His new covenant.

Now that we are in the covenant.. How do we put obedience into practice..

Matthew 7:21-27 is a stern warning that is given. It is not enough for believers simply to hear or read the Word. The essential question is, Are they obeying it?

The apostle James addresses the importance of obedience when he declares. Prove yourselves doers of the word and not merely hearers who delude themselves (1:22)

James 1:22New International Version (NIV)

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

A genuine believer can also be deceived about the spiritual improvement he needs to make. He hears teaching about a certain area of the Christian life in which he falls sinfully short. But instead of applying scripture to the deficient area, he lives as he did before and is deceived about the true status of his spiritual life.

James gave us a good example of an obedient Christian. To sum things up, what James was saying is that we have to abide by what the word of God says. Be an “effectual doer” rather than a “forgetful hearer”.

So brothers and sisters, when we experienced salvation, we also made a simple but far reaching covenant of obedience with the Lord. Therefore it is very important that the attitude of obedience must accompany the attitude of faith in our Christian lives.

Humbleness

Faith and obedience is always accompanied with an attitude of humility. The attitude of humility has to be at the very center of our loves. The sad thing is that today, churches around the world today now focuses on individual pride and self-esteem. There so many churches around the world that have taken out the hard facts of Christianity and replaced them with what the congregation likes to here. During the time of Jesus, we had the Pharisees who did the same thing.

5“But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6“They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. 8“But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9“Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10“Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11“But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

The opposite of pride is humbleness.  Let’s look at Matthew 5:3-6

Matthew 5:3-6New International Version (NIV)

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.

We do not have enough time to go through the Beatitudes in detailed but I do remember our brother Dr Lai covering this and it was already a message by itself. Each Beatitude is descriptive facet of humility.

Briefly let’s just go through these 4. The first is “Blessed are the poor in Spirit” The word poor here in Greek is ptochos, which means one who is so poor he has to beg. It describes people who were financially bankrupt and without any means of support. The kingdom of God here belongs to the spiritually destitute. To be poor in spirit means we realize that we know that we are spiritually bankrupt and knowing that we could not enter based on any worth of their own.

The clear lesson is that if any are going to enter the kingdom of heaven they must become poor in spirit. This is the message of the kingdom; it is the call of repentance. They must humble themselves before God and acknowledge that they bring nothing of their own power, possessions or merit to gain entrance. Those who truly humble themselves and express their need of the Lord, they have the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. The word mourn here is not the mourning that you would associate with loss or when we go through certain circumstances in life.

The word mourn here is rather acknowledging our transgressions. It takes humility to actually admit that we have done wrong against God and knowing that God is the only one that can forgive our iniquities. Faithful and mature believers will have a constant lifelong attitude of mourning or brokenness over sin which allow them to see more and more of God’s love and mercy and less and less of their own pride.

Gentleness

Matthew 5:5

Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.

The Old Testament Background. This beatitude is very much like the promise in Psalm 37:11, “The meek shall possess the land.”

The Meaning. In the Bible the meek are those who have a spirit of gentleness and self-control; they are free from malice and a condescending spirit. The meek may like the poor have no resources of their own; but then they may, for Moses was described as being meek and humble (Num. 12:3). But the meek do not exploit and oppress others; they are not given to vengeance and vendettas, they are not violent, and they do not try to seize power for their own ends. In short, they have emulated the nature of Jesus in their lives and learned from him. This does not mean that they are weak or ineffective in life. They may be gentle and humble, but they can and do champion the needs of the weak and the oppressed.

The Application. How does one become meek? What if one’s nature is not meek? The answer to this comes from other passages of the Bible that describe how the spiritual life works. Meekness and gentleness and goodness are part of the fruit of the Spirit–they are produced in the Christian by the Holy Spirit. So the direction people should follow to cultivate a spirit of meekness would be to walk by the Spirit, or be controlled by the Spirit of God so that the qualities of Christ can be produced in and through them.

4. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled”.

When someone dies to himself, mourns over his sinfulness, and turns over his power to God’s control, he will receive a strong desire for righteousness and an intense longing for more of what God has.

How this desire is developed. Most Christians are for righteousness–but how does the desire become so intense? It also has to come from the development of the spiritual life. Brothers and sisters, we need to commit to God’s will.  Commitment does require an attitude of humility. Then, as the spiritual walk is guided by the Holy Spirit, He leads the believer into righteousness.

There is no doubt that God wants believers to have humility. But because of our remaining sinfulness, God does whatever that is necessary to humble us.

So what are the marks of a humble Christian. The first basic mark of a humble person is that he sees his own sin as worse than others. Paul was a good example that exemplified this point.  1 Timothy 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. When it’s our sins that most grieve and offend us and are the ones we most want to avoid, then we demonstrate real measure of humility.

The second mark of a humble person is that he or she is not self-centered (Phil 2:4). Selfless people are more concerned with the lives of others. Their own interests, privileges and reputations become secondary when compared to the needs of others. Christ our Lord is the perfect example of this. A verse that we all know:

Philippians 2:5-8New International Version (NIV)

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Christ was willing to set aside His divine privileges and be separated from the Father to endure the terrible agony so that we might be saved. That is the greatest form of humility ever shown.

Jesus used a little child to illustrate humility. A child is one that is totally dependent. That’s the attitude that we must have when we seek entrance into God’s kingdom.

If you have forgotten everything that was shared, remember this. We must enter with childlike faith and obedience, and we must live everyday of our Christian life with an attitude of childlike humility.