Tag Archive | Jews

How you can do a great work for God

The Lord Jesus Christ in the image of Good She...

The Lord Jesus Christ in the image of Good Shepherd. Early Christian trsdition of symbolism. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all want to do “great work” for God. Some see it as fulfilling “purpose”. That is how some people express the longing to be up the ladder in church or gospel work. There is nothing wrong with a desire to serve God in outstanding way; I believe a little understanding will help someone to do it right and reap the reward from God.

Nicodemus once went to Jesus to find out this secret in John 3:1-10, the scriptures says, “Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”  “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spiritgives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?” (NIV)

Jesus simply told him, it is not what you do but who you are that makes the difference. Your nature produces your abilities effortlessly. I am sure that I will struggle to live in water than a fish would do.

Jesus answered those who asked the question more directly than Nicodemus the same thing. This is stated in John 6:28-29.

“Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (KJV)

You need to be called and commissioned. This is what determines what you do, where you do it and how. You can see this in the Bible “In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name. ”Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized.” Acts 9:10-18 (NIV)

Ananias was called to go and do the work he did.

The scriptures in Acts 13:1-3 says “Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” (NIV)

Paul and Barnabas were called and sent by the Holy Spirit.

Some years ago at a Youth for Christ camp, some brethren asked me why there were many church denominations. (Then we don’t have them this much) Mine mind went blank for a split second, and then the Lord spoke to me. He told me there are basically three divisions.

1. Those that he called

2. Those that called themselves (these are more numerous)

3. Those that the devil called. (These are deceivers and very cunning)

There are equally a lot of divisions among those the Lord called; this gives people the opportunities to hear the gospel in their own “language”.

Paul says “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” 1 Cor. 9:19-23 (NIV).

God provides variety of ways to reach people and uses different people as he wishes.

It is not my intention here to condemn denominations; I have just told you what the Lord told me. We must be discerning; we do this as we pray and ask God direction as to where to worship and have fellowship. Whatever we do, the responsibility is ours.  You can see more examples in Acts 19:13-17 “Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.” (NIV)

You must have compassion. The work of God is great when done in love. The Scripture says“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” 1 Cor. 13:1-8 (NIV)

 Obedience: There is nothing that is too small when it is a command or an instruction from God. When we concentrate only on doing “great things” and being great men or women of God, the motive could be wrong. Ananias is a good example of this.

 You must be prayerful. You do the work of God as you pray. Most times people may not know you prayed for them but you don’t have to bother about it. God can lead you to do more things as you pray. (Acts13)

 Every Child of God has something to do. We should prayerfully seek God’s face on the things he wants us to do. It is not what we want but what he wants that really matters. The case of  Mary and Martha provides a good example of this.

The Friends of Caesar

A cropped version of Antonio Ciseri's depictio...

A cropped version of Antonio Ciseri's depiction of Pontius Pilate presenting a scourged Christ to the people. See: Eccehomo1.jpg for full version. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the years I had listened to arguments that say that Jesus did not die (I don’t have time for such things anymore); I don’t know where those people got their information from but it is definitely out of place; to say the least. Jesus’ death was not a script acted out by Jesus and some folks. It was his enemies that masterminded his death and they did not stop at anything to see their plot through. Their plots were well examined by Pilate and this was his verdict “Pilate….saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.” John 19:4-6 (KJV)

Pilate found no fault in him. He was not guilty of anything. Jesus did not die because of any wrong doing. He died for our sins.

The Leaders of the Jews, who claimed that their law provided for him to die because he claimed to be the son of God, were in error. Psalm 82:6 says” I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High” (KJV). (You can also read John10:34-35). God called those who believed in him, his children. There was no evidence that they killed the writer of that scripture neither were there any evidence that they contested the legitimacy of that verse of the scripture anywhere.

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.” John19:7-12(NIV)

Pilate chose friendship with Caesar against his convictions and the evidence before him. He sentenced Jesus to death against his best judgment.

Pilate is dead and gone, so also is Caesar; however the manipulations of Jesus’ enemies and the errors of Pilate lives on.

Many people are “friends of Caesar” figuratively; they are willing to compromise the truth because of friends and relations. They can’t stand by their best convictions because of the advantages they hope to gain and because they love the favour and friendship of people more than the truth. They would rather make friends with people than live right or fear God.

Today, there are people who failed to accept Jesus as saviour because of what their friends would say. There are people who cannot preach the truth because their patrons will withdraw their “gifts”. They would rather have people go to eternal destruction than preach the true gospel.

We must never pass harsh judgments on innocent people as Pilate did. God hates it. Proverbs:21 says “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.” We must never allow ourselves to be manipulated as the enemies of Jesus did to Pilate. They employed every evil devises possible to see that Jesus died a painful death. The scripture says that we should not join multitudes to do evil.

“But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. John 19:15-19 (KJV)

When Pilate wrote the title: “JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS” He was only trying to calm his troubled conscience and justify his actions. Jesus did not ask for such a thing and the Jews asked him to change the statement. He compromised his integrity and framed a cover-up. One lie led to another. When people set out on manipulating others, they keep on scheming and multiplying wrong doing. The enemies of Jesus kept deceiving themselves as servants of God; envy, bitterness and greed kept them from the truth; they lied to the people, produced false witnesses, bought a traitor and bent the law to see their evil scheme through.

Jesus really came to die. It was his mission on earth; it was for the salvation of all who would believe. He is alive forever. Choose Jesus today and enjoy the blessing that goes with it.

“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 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 husband’s will, but born of God. John1:11-13 (NIV)

 

 

 

 

Dead Man Escapes from Jail!

Jesus appears to the disciples (watercolour)

Jesus appears to the disciples (watercolour) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some years ago, I was very fond of a Newspaper called “The Headlines”. This Paper publishes News that made the headline several years ago; I am taking a leaf from them to publish a story that probably featured as a headline several years ago and with a probable title like this: “Dead Man Escapes from jail. The story is true and the News is truth but the Headline is mine.

The News had it that a man who was killed by his adversaries because of envy and whose tomb was sealed with a big stone placed by several men and a dreadful security guard posted to protect the place, to forestall the claim by the dead man that he will rise the third after his death, has escaped from his tomb cell.

According to a reporter called Matthew, “there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.” (1)

The News was very disturbing because another reporter, Luke, said “Very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb. They were carrying the spices that they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb. When they went in, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were puzzled about this, two men in clothes that were as bright as lightning suddenly stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed to the ground. The men asked the women, “Why are you looking among the dead for the living one? He’s not here. He has been brought back to life! Remember what he told you while he was still in Galilee. He said, ‘The Son of Man must be handed over to sinful people, be crucified, and come back to life on the third day.’” (2).

According to this reporter, the man, who was certified dead, indeed lives.

When the security guards told the man’s adversaries want happened, the News had it that they were bribed to say that his followers came to steal him while they slept. “While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city. They told the chief priests everything that had happened. The chief priests gathered together with the leaders and agreed on a plan. They gave the soldiers a large amount of money and told them to say that Jesus’ disciples had come at night and had stolen his body while they were sleeping. They added, “If the governor hears about it, we’ll take care of it, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.” The soldiers took the money and did as they were told. Their story has been spread among the Jewish people to this day. ” (3)

The report also said that the man appeared to his followers alive “Mary from Magdala went to the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord.” She also told them what he had said to her. That Sunday evening, the disciples were together behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jews. Jesus stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you!” When he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were glad to see the Lord.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” After he had said this, he breathed on the disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whenever you forgive sins, they are forgiven. Whenever you don’t forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Thomas, one of the twelve apostles, who was called Didymus, wasn’t with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We’ve seen the Lord.” Thomas told them, “I refuse to believe this unless I see the nail marks in his hands, put my fingers into them, and put my hand into his side.” A week later Jesus’ disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Take your hand, and put it into my side. Stop doubting, and believe.” Thomas responded to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to Thomas, “You believe because you’ve seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me but believe.” (4)

It was a Headline story that will never be forgotten in all history. The information about Jesus’ death and resurrection was well publicised when it happened and the story about him is still spreading.

It was News, alright, When Jesus met two of his disciple who were on the way to Emmaus, (they did not know it was him) and when he asked them what they were discussing this was their answer “Cleopas answered, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who does not know what just happened there”? Luke 24:17-18. (NCV)

People have tried over the years to stop this story without success; Bibles had been burnt and preachers had been killed for the gospel sake but the story will not stop. It was not a story that was made up because even some of the disciples only believed the resurrection after they saw Jesus and touched him.

It is important that you believe the gospel and give your life to Jesus.

Quotes:

  1. Matt. 28:2-4.
  2. Luke 24: 1-7 (GW)
  3. Matt. 28:11-15 (GW)
  4. John 20: 18-29) (GW)

Ref:  www.biblegateway.com (all Bible quotes)