I have a Christian friend who happens to be a jail bird and was virtually whisked out of his country in order to escape the death sentence passed on him about some years ago when he became a Christian. This young man lost his education, his business and was disowned by his family. In all, he’s defied the persecutions and setbacks he’s faced and today, he’s a missionary who has trained other missionaries and he’s a senior staff at a reputable trading firm in another country. He has no University diploma, yet speaks five international languages, English inclusive.
I was quite stunned at his achievements despite all the odds. In my excitement I decided to ask him how he’s made it thus far, so I did. The answer he gave me was the more startling. He told me of a semi-literate Filipino missionary who came to his country. This missionary had a very poor command of English language. He had very meager earnings. In all, there was nothing physically or materially spectacular about him. My friend who hails from a relatively successful family hated the missionary for his lowly status. He did his best to resist the missionary’s advances to no avail. The more he tried to defy the missionary the more he saw the missionary’s overwhelming display of love and contentment. The missionary’s disposition made him to ponder over his life. He was overwhelmed by the fact that a man who lived in a very hostile community and had little or no material resources could display a high sense of contentment and confidence in what he believed. The love and life of Jesus in the missionary overwhelmed my friend. He became a Christian and the rest is history.
As my friend narrated his encounter with the missionary I understood better what it means to be a Christian. The entire ethos of Christianity is encapsulated in one phrase “Godliness with contentment is great gain (1Tim.6:6)”. The Apostles of Jesus made so much impact, because they understood this principle by spending so much time with Jesus. In their poor educational status and lack of professional certificates, they communicated about the Excellency of God to the awe of the aristocrats of their time (Acts.4:13). The book of Acts of the Apostles gives so many remarkable testimonies of how mighty works were done by ordinary and hitherto disenfranchised people. I’m mostly struck by this verse “In such ways it became evident that the Word of the Master was now sovereign and prevailed in Ephesus” (Acts 19:20 MSG).
Our Christianity is only effective to the extent we know Christ. The semi-literate Filipino and the poorly educated Apostles took advantage of their knowledge of Christ and they recorded remarkable results.
My admonition today is that we stay our life wholly and absolutely with Christ. Learn Christ. If we spend our time daily to give ourselves wholly unto him we’ll be remarkable in all we do. Our approach to the issues of life will be awesome and we’ll be fruitful in all areas of our life.
“Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.” (Gal.2:20-21 MSG).
“Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation.” (1Tim.4:15-16 MSG)
This terrorist guru is well known for his fanatical tendencies and his unreserved resolution to wipe out people not of his religion from the face of the earth. Having successfully murdered over 2.5 million people in his lifetime, as communicated in one of last month’s breaking news; he has groomed other men that are ensnared by his beliefs and who now carry out his every whim. Governments of several countries have declared him wanted and are willing to pay a huge reward – in cash to anyone who can reveal his hiding place. On several occasions, you have seen this guy’s picture on TV and can recognize him when you see him.
Lo and behold, while you were having Holy Communion service with Pastor last Sunday, one of your church’s missionaries walked in with this ‘most wanted guy’ and declared that he is now born-again. Can you imagine the reaction in the church that day? I won’t be surprised if you had tried locating the closest exit route. I may not also be surprised if the pastor ran for his dear life. Believers are quick to admit that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation”, but they find it difficult to detach themselves and others from ‘their’ old dead lives. Many of my old friends who knew me before I became born-again still find it difficult to believe that I could experience such remarkable transformation in a short time, and some of them claimed they prayed for me to repent!
If we truly understand redemption, then ‘that’ terrorist that killed 2.5 million people is dead. He doesn’t exist anymore. The man that came to church last Sunday is someone who never existed before (2 Cor. 5:17). How can you charge a “new born” for murder? Colossians 3:3 (MSG) says “Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life–even though invisible to spectators–is with Christ in God.” I agree that the world may find it difficult coming to terms with this and may want to charge that righteous man to court, but you should never think like that.
Saul of Tarsus would excel as a terrorist by all ratings. He had supervised the murder of some people who were not part of his religion and was on a similar mission when he got born-again. However, the new man that emerged – Apostle Paul, once told the Corinthian church in 2 Cor. 7:2 (CEV) “Make a place for us in your hearts! We haven’t mistreated or hurtanyone…” But how could he claim he never hurt anyone even though Saul’s atrocities were done openly? Simple! He understood the blueprint in 2Cor 5:16-17 (ALT) – “Therefore, from now on we know no one according to the flesh; … if anyone is in Christ, he is a newcreation”
Beloved, in the last message of this series, I emphasized that God gave birth to a new spirit within us when we got born-again. Today, I want to remind you to stop referring to the dead man in your life. Stop relating with other believers as though they are still dead. Embrace the new life. Cherish it! Live it! It’s real!
– tope aladenusi
Sometime ago while pondering over God’s word. I was again struck by the unique, distinct and peculiar life we have been called into. I am actually living the life of Christ. I am not to try to please him by my hands but to show forth the excellent virtues of his mighty power at work in me.
I am not trying to carve a niche for myself. Instead whatever niche that may be carved out should continually stem from the accomplished work on the cross.
I mean does my life exhibit the uniqueness of Christ or is it another self declared style unique to me.
Does my action stem from the world or does it stem from the true word of God.
Even though we are called new creatures, our sufficiency does not come from ourselves but from the operation of God in us.
I used to say that what kind of strange humility would make a man pray that men should not see him but the CROSS but now I understand better. Paul desired that we abound in and be filled with the fruits of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ to the honour and praise of God [that his Glory may be both manifested and recognised] Phil 1:11 Consider contextually verse 18
verse 20…my own eager desire and persistent expectation and hope that I shall not disgrace myself nor be put to shame in anything but that with the utmost of speech and unfailing courage, now as always heretofore Christ will be magnified and get glory and praise in this body of mine and be boldly exalted in my person whether through life or through death.
For me to live is Christ
Brother, let our names be forgotten but let Christ be exalted in our bodies. No other thing surpasses this.
The Hymn writer says
“Not I, but Christ,” be honoured, loved, exalted;
“Not I, but Christ,” be seen, be known, be heard;
“Not I, but Christ,” in every look and action;
“Not I, but Christ,” in every thought and word
Christ, only Christ, ere long will fill my vision;
Glory excelling, soon, full soon, I’ll see
Christ, only Christ, my every wish fulfilling
Christ, only Christ, my All in All to be
Culled from Sacred Songs and Solos (Hymn 623)
In conclusion brothers and sisters, the life of the Christian is the life of Christ. Let us prayerfully pore over these words “I have been crucified with Christ, and I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. And that life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith toward the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself on my behalf”.
Dr bolaji akanni
Nature with Supernatural
Fatherless with Father
Family less with Family
Friendless with Friend
Unmarried with Companion
Minority with Majority
Strength less with Power
Money less with Gain
Property less with Completeness
Shelter less with Refuge
Oldness with Newness
Deadness with Life
Hopeless with Hope
Man with Christ…(Luke 18: 29-30)
– emeka ofia
According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Philippians 1: 20,21
I attend church services regularly and its always a lovely sight to see the saints lifting up holy hands in the worship of God. Some songs we sing really stir me up emotionally as they call my attention to the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross.
But I wonder if the sacrifice of praise goes beyond what we express in singing. I wonder how many people in the Body of Christ would go as far as saying with Paul, “I don’t care whether I live or I die. I just want Christ to be magnified through whatever happens. And to make that a reality I’m going to adopt a lifestyle that lays my life on the line, repeatedly, for His Name’s sake!”
Let Christ be magnified in you.
– jide lawal
Scores of people in my country usually look forward to weekends so that they can relax from the arduous task of going to work for five consecutive days in a week. So relieved are many people that on Friday the mood is a weekend one. In government offices, workers leave their coats in their seats and disappear for their weekends. People coming to be served are informed that these workers have just gone out and will be back in a moment. But the truth of the matter is they are off for their weekends.
Codes of conduct and ethical principles have done little to eliminate this vice in public offices. The call for patriotism by our government spokesperson has done little either. The reason for this is that the implementers have turned to be the perpetrators of the practice. Some do not even appear on Friday. Slow pace is what marks most public offices in my country. A thing that would normally take hours to sort out may take months, or at least weeks. I once tried to follow up a refund of my overpaid fees in the university. It was about three thousand shillings. Well, eight weeks into it, the refund was within a striking distance. Then there was a strike in the university and so the process had to be halted. On resumption, I was told I had to restart the claim process. This time round I was taken through phases that I hadn’t gone through during the first time. I was fed up and I gave up the “fight” … and my money. That was not before I witnessed a real incident of systematic soldiering (slowing down everything). I was shell-shocked when a certain lady complained that it was her fifth time coming there to follow her results. And that’s not what shocked me. What fazed me was the response from the university attendant. All she could exclaim was…”this is your fifth time only? People have come here eleven times!’’
As Christians whatever we do should be done as unto Christ and not as unto men. Servants should give the best to their masters knowing that they derive their livelihood from them.
Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eye service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him – Ephesians 6:5-9
Doing good work is a way of preaching out the gospel. When the masters are pleased, we provide an avenue for them to ask some soul-searching questions, may be leading to their conversion. Some masters are unscrupulous, always mistreating their servants but GOD is not a respecter of any persons and he will avenge our mistreatments (Romans 12:19). Finally let us overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21) by doing good works.
– johnstone katuku