Thursday, 30 July 2015

GOD PROVIDES

The Church has often come under heavy criticism over some sermons which have come to be known as ‘Prosperity Teachings’. These, for those not in the know, are the teachings whereby the teacher, most times being the pastor, engages his congregants only in sermons whereby the core of the subject is “God wants to give you a big car, a big house, and a big salary”. The problem with this kind of sermons is that they may give the impression that if one lacks the aforementioned things, God does not love them, something which is definitely false.
Also, it happens to increase our desires for these Earthly things which the Bible commands us not to be greedy. In the words of a certain rap guru; “It’s funny how every time I have money, I feel like I'm blessed; and every time I'm broke, I feel like I'm cursed; when I have it, I don't want Him (God), when I'm down, I know I need him, makes me wonder which one is worse, it makes my stomach hurt”


Why would God tell us to chase something which would inadvertently draw us away from Him?
1 John 2.15Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life- is not of the Father but is of the world”
Matthew 6.24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” 

That's just it; he doesn’t tell us to chase after money, he actually tells us to keep away from the love of money, which is the root of all evil.
1 Timothy 6.10 “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”


I am equally in this battalion against the preaching of such doctrines, not just because they are misleading to the majority of the congregation, but because they are part truth. The same applies, if I may shortly digress, to the habit of only preaching on the goodness and grace of God while failing to point out the righteous wrath of God; the wrath that makes him “curse the house of the wicked (Proverbs 3.33), the wrath that made him so unable to compromise on sin that he went to the point of murdering His own Son so that he could be appeased, yet he still remains to be “the LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation (Exodus 34.7)”

Nonetheless, that is a topic for another day. Holding into account what I've written so far, it must then come as a shock that I wish to write on the provision of God yet I claim to be against such teachings! You see, I woke up thinking about it one fine morning on these lines:
The provisions of God go beyond wealth and prosperity. He created the Heavens and the Earth; he made everything that has breath and that without it; he made our bodies in the glory that they are in, making us in His image and giving us the breath of life. God provides for us all things, especially what we need most; forgiveness.

Most people find themselves in the sort of dilemma where they wish to live a life devoted towards Christ, but the devil always has a way of reminding them of their past sinful life and of how worthless they are. He might even go as far as messing with their self-esteem by telling them things like “God doesn’t want you...he can’t accept you with all that sin...he’s such a holy God he can't stand sin like yours”.



Before going too far, we must first come to the realization that the devil is actually a very smart person. His course of action is always that of setting one into doubts about the Word of God. Look at the fall of man in Genesis, the devil asked Eve Hawa, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” Notice how he never did tell her what to believe, he just cast her into doubts!



Another example; the devil tempting Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4, Luke 4). Notice first how the devil attacked Jesus at his weak point first. We are told in the Gospel of Luke that Jesus was hungry, a fact that the devil used first by telling him to turn stone into bread, something that he knew Jesus longed for. So the next time it’s Friday night and you're feeling like going out to party the night away and drink, it just might be the devil using your weak point against you. Get on your knees and pray for strength!


Second, and equally important, notice how the devil frames his questions; “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread...If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down...”. He began all of his questions by trying to cast doubt into the heart of Christ on his being the Son of God. Also worth noting was that despite Jesus using the Bible to condemn the devil’s temptations, the devil ALSO used the BIBLE to try and cause Jesus to sin. He actually used the very words of the man whom the Bible records to have been ‘after God’s own heart’; David; that is Psalms 91.11-12. (A worthy question at this point is whether the next time the devil comes to tempt you, who between you two will know the Bible more than the other?)




As we were earlier saying, however, the devil tries to get at us by throwing flaming arrows of doubt at us and telling us how useless we are. However, I wish to tell you right now that God forgives!


Whatever you think you might have done that is beyond forgiveness, I want you to know that Jesus has ALREADY forgiven you, and granted you the gift of eternal life!


Amongst my best Bible stories is that of Saul; who in Acts 9, became Paul. He was a learned Jewish man, a teacher of the law, an unbeliever of Jesus Christ in all aspects of the term. He had presided over the persecution, imprisonment and/ or death of Christians from Judea to Samaria, and throughout Jerusalem, including the first Christian martyr Stephen, whom he had killed. Saul had a vision as he headed to Damascus (to persecute more Christians!) whereby Jesus appeared to him and spoke to him. This divine meeting has been discussed by many scholars, including former atheist Antony Flew, and has been found to have been a true divine meeting, considering those around him heard the voice but did not see anyone. Paul then went on to be such an important figure in the spread of Christianity in its early days by Jews and pagans alike. He went on to write so many of the epistles and lead to so many others believing in Christ as the Son of God.
If Jesus Christ, the Son of God, considered Paul worthy of knowing Him and forgave him of all his sins, what makes you think he will not accept you? Do not listen to others tell you that God doesn’t want you, or that he cannot accept you, “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16.7)


Another example is that of David; the psalmist; the ‘man after God’s own heart’, the man who was anointed to be King of Israel when he was yet a herds-boy. However, he was the same man who after later lusting after Bathsheba, welcomed sin into his life by laying with her, getting her pregnant, and killing Uriah, her rightful husband so as to escape responsibility for what he had done. Yet, God forgave him and called him as above. Jesus is even called the ‘son of David’ by blind Bartimaeus because Jesus was in the family line of David.

Yet another example of a sinful man being forgiven and reaccepted into the Kingdom of God is Peter.

The Bible is filled with examples of people who were accepted by God and considered righteous despite their ‘big’ sins.


You might ask “Why? Why he chooses to love us despite our constant sin?” The answer is two-fold; Mercy and Grace.
Mercy is ‘not getting what you rightfully deserve’. Grace is ‘getting what you don't rightfully deserve’.
(Sure! Take some time to read and re-read that. It may take a moment to register. J )


We deserve death for our sins according to Romans 6.23 “for the wages of sin is death...”, but by His MERCY, we don't get death! We get LIFE; life through Christ Jesus “...but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We don't deserve to be loved by Him. We don't deserve that he send down his Son as the ultimate sacrifice for a lost humanity that has “...exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1.25), but by his GRACE, we get His LOVE “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3.16)

To quote a hip-hop group Beautiful Eulogy, “Surrounded by grace that surpasses the past, beyond anything we can hope for or ask...took upon himself the death we deserve, resurrected after death and promised to return...the size of grace HOW GREAT the size, the gates of Heaven are open wide, and people of all kind are welcome inside...”.






In conclusion, no matter what the devil may tell you to discourage you, know that Jesus’ resurrection assured you of a life free from the shackles of sin...free from the bondage of the enemy...free from sin. “On the third day, Christ left the serpent SMASHED!!” “...for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” 1 John 3.8


Remember, as Christians, we will always face trials. Remember Jesus’ sermon on the Mountain; “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven...Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5).

We, as believers of Christ, are simply in the world-physically present-but not of it, not of its values. This is because we “do not conform to the evil desires [we] had when [we] lived in ignorance” (1 Peter 1.14).

More so, Paul urges us in Philippians 1.29-30 as follows; “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.”

Therefore, you need not worry; you know why? Because Jesus is in charge! Proverbs 16.20 tells us “...whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he”. This is because the Lord never lets us down. “He walked on water, He won't let you drown” He is guiding us and has everything in check according to his perfect will for those who love him.





Jesus is alive, and he stands at the door of your heart, knocking; “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3.20)


The question is; will you open the door???





Soli Deo Gloria



No comments:

Post a comment