A New Humanity

Globe and Silhouettes of People with Hands Raised

Introduction:
The Bible (and the world) begins with the unity of mankind (Adam & Eve) but division when mankind sinned. Likewise Jews & Gentiles are separated. In fact, Gentiles have double alienation – from God & God’s people.

Gentiles barred from entering
Gentiles barred from entering further then the Gentiles Courtyard
Theme: Christ had destroyed both enmities & has created A New Humanity
  • From Alienation to Reconciliation
  • From Hostility to Peace
3 Stages of God’s Plan

Stage 1. What we once were (v11-12)

  • Separated from Christ
  • Alienated from Israel & strangers of the covenant of promise
  • We had no hope & without God in the world

Stage 2. What Christ has done (v13-18)
What did He achieve when He died on the cross?

  • The abolition if the law of commandments (15a)
    Law has 2 aspects (moral law: 10 commandments & ceremonial law: circumcision, sacrifice, washing, etc). Ceremonial law set aside when Christ died on the cross. Yet moral law cannot save us as we cannot follow it perfectly.
  • The creation of a single new humanity (15b).
    “There is neither Jew not Greek…”
    New identity & new unity in Jesus Christ
  • The reconciliation of Jew & Gentile to God (v16)
    Not just one people but reconcile both Jews & Gentiles. God forgives us through Jesus’ death on the cross.

Does this mean the entire world is united & reconciled?
No! Not yet. Every time we share the Gospel & proclaim the peace of God in our heart, it is The Lord speaking through us.

What have we now become?
  • God’s kingdom (v19a)
    God ruling His people
  • God’s family (v19b)
    Closeness & intimacy with God. Children in God’s family. Brethren = brothers & sisters in Christ expressing close affection & care supporting one another irrespective of colour, race & position.
    Do you profess to love Christ but cannot stand someone in your church? If you love God, you cannot be hating God’s children!
  • God’s temple (v20-22)
    Jesus as cornerstone. A dwelling place of God in the spirit.
    Jews have Jerusalem
    Muslims have Mecca
    Roman Catholics have Rome

Do we Christians need a temple?
No, do not need a temple, land or place to call holy land. But yes we have one (v20) which is built on the foundation of the apostles & prophets with Christ as the cornerstone.

Previously, cornerstone very important to support entire building. Even today’s apartment construction, there will be a large stone placed after clearing.

We are living stone = part of the temple
Every time new believer = add new stone

What is the purpose of the New Temple?
In principle had the same purpose as old temple. It is the dwelling place of God.

The entire universe cannot contain God as He is infinite. The New Temple is a spiritual building where God lives in – in His people, individually & corporately.

“Behold, the dwelling of God is within men.” (Rev 21:1-5)

The church today is what the temple was in the Old Testament. The place where God & His glory are manifested. A New Community
Concern in today’s church: divisions, unforgiving spirit. This prevents the world from seeing the church.
It is important that the church should be what God has purposed – a family reconciled in Christ loving the Father & each other.

I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (‭John‬ ‭17‬:‭23‬ NIV)

Download slides (1MB): United in Christ

What is HOPE?

We hear the words “hope” being used often. We hope for this. We hope for that. But what is HOPE really?

hope

Hope is “An Anchor for our Souls”

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)

Jer 29:11 Also talks of HOPE being a help through difficult years

 

What hope is NOT

There is a Chinese parable of man in boat accidentally drop sword in water. Marked spot where sword dropped… on the side of the boat. Needless to say it is a silly action & the sword was lost forever.

Likewise, many Christians put their hope on own works – like the parable above.

Cliches sounds nice, but it is not real hope.

Hope is not flimsy.

 

god-gives-hope

The Bible IS a book of HOPE

  • Abraham – hope of descendants
  • Exodus – hope of freedom
  • David – hope of kingship
  • Prophets – hope of a Messiah
  • Jesus – hope of glory
  • Apostles – hope of resurrection
  • Church (Epistles) – hope of Christ’s return
  • Israel – hope of Christ’s rule on earth

Q: Which book has the most reference of hope?
A: Job, a book on suffering

 

Our past & sorry state

“… remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.” (‭Ephesians‬ ‭2‬:‭12‬ NIV)

 

Our state in HOPE

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (‭Ephesians‬ ‭2‬:‭13‬ NIV)

REAL HOPE is built on nothing less… than Jesus’ blood & righteousness.

Jesus is the anchor for your soul.

 

The DANGER of losing Hope

We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭2‬:‭1‬ NIV)

Hold on to the Word of God, hold on to Jesus. Whatever people say, do not let go.

Put on hope as a helmet.

But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. (‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5‬:‭8‬ NIV)

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him. From Lamentations, the saddest book in the bible written by Jeremiah who wrote the book with tears.

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; (‭Lamentations‬ ‭3‬:‭25‬ NIV)

Christ in you = Our hope in glory

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (‭Colossians‬ ‭1‬:‭27‬ NIV)

“With Christ in the vessel as the Anchor, we can smile at the storm…”

Christ the first fruit (like a tree with first fruits blooming for the very 1st time with only a few fruits… Then suddenly the entire orchard blooms with a great harvest of fruits)

Video: In Christ Alone by Owl City

http://youtu.be/xnWw24s5gG8

Till He returns
Or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand…

 

Download slides (498kb): What is Hope

God’s Communicable & Incommunicable Attributes

God’s Attributes (Source: ODB)

image

We cannot know God unless He reveals Himself to us. An attribute of God is a characteristic that God has chosen to reveal about Himself through His Word. Incommunicable attributes are those that belong to God alone (e.g., omniscience [all-knowing]; omnipotence [all-powerful]; omnipresence [present everywhere]; immutability [unchangeable]; infinite [having no limits]; transcendence [beyond comprehension]).

Communicable attributes are those that human beings can also possess (e.g., compassion, love, mercy, goodness). In Isaiah 55:8-9, God reveals that He is unlike any other being and our finite minds can never fully understand Him (see Job 11:7-9; Ps. 131:1; Rom. 11:33). Throughout Scripture we are told that there is no one like God (see Ex. 15:11; Ps. 35:10; 89:6-8; Isa. 40:25).

The Unexamined Life

Jesus is our perfect example & our ultimate goal is not to be found wanting.unexamined-life

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (‭Luke‬ ‭10‬:‭38-42‬ NIV)

God knows & reads our heart. We cannot depend on our works which are like filthy rags.

When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well. (‭Luke‬ ‭7‬:‭1-10‬ NIV)

It all comes down to 3 things – Joy, Humility, & Faith.

The Tenth Commandment

On the Tenth commandment – Ex 20:17

ten-commandments

Exodus 20:17 (NIV)

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

The Ten commandments are for Israelites (believers). You need to make changes to align to Gods will. The 1st to 9th commandment are actions & easily visible. But the tenth commandment is a matter of heart & attitude. Breaking the tenth commandment can easily lead to breaking the other commandments.
Covetousness destroys our lives

  • We can covet people, properties, possessions, etc
  • Desire is not necessarily sinful BUT if take sinful/unethical actions to fulfill the desire
  • “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” -Psalm 23
  • Even when spending our own money, we need to examine its usage

Covetousness disregards/denies Gods laws

  • Many put money before / instead of God
  • Humans can kill for financial gains, humans can long for something so much until we steal
  • We blaspheme God if believer lives life not doing what he/she says
  • We are not to neglect parents as financial/physical burden
  • We need to put God & Sunday worship 1st

No short cuts/avoiding responsibility/idolatry

  • We are guilty of idolatry if we put other things 1st before God
  • People want things easy & to work as little as possible without (more) responsibilities

Conclusion

We need to trust The Lord & turn our eyes into Jesus.
A rich person depends not on how much he/she has but how little he/she needs.

Carpe Diem!

Carpe-Diem-II-05

Is everything futile? Will things never change?

Or the more things change, the more they stay the same?

Que sera sera? – whatever will be will be?!

que-sera-sera

 
The Lord says no!

“…What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” (‭Revelation ‭3‬:‭7‬ NIV)

Carpe diem – seize the day!

I  know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.(‭Revelation ‭3‬:‭8‬ NIV)

We are not to have a mindset on what could have been.

We are not to always look back.

But you are to continue to do what The Lord wants you to do.