THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL (18)
Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh continued preaching in the series titled: The Power of the Gospel. Her sermon today was titled ‘The seal of circumcision’. Her main text was taken from the Book of Romans. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” … being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus… What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin” Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised” (Rom 1:16, 17, 3:24; 4:1-12)
IS YOUR CHRISTIANITY REAL? ARE YOU TRULY BORN AGAIN? DOES YOUR GOSPEL WORK FOR YOU?
Have you mastered your life? The answer must be yes! The Gospel is not just a doctrine. It works practically. The Gospel is God’s solution for sin and the problems of life. It is a unique ‘solution’. Nothing and nobody helps you to be saved and to live successfully as the Gospel of Christ crucified and resurrected.
The world has two extremes to deal with problems:
1-Happy in the flesh (choose to be ignorant and enjoy life – it gives pleasure but not peace and not satisfaction)
2-Strong in the flesh – (these are called ‘stoics.’ They just ‘endure’. They are not happy and not sad. There is no victory in their lives!)
But Christianity is always victorious! This is the power and glory of the Gospel! Christianity works thru the Word of God (truth) and the Holy Spirit! It produces faith, strength, wisdom, peace, and joy! Christianity (the Gospel) is not vague. It can be defined and preached. You need the truth, sound doctrine, to be set free from sin, anxiety, fear, and depression. Does it work for you? If not, give your life to Christ! If a man is in trouble, do not cheer him up. Point him to Christ crucified and resurrected! Christianity has no help or hope for unbelievers! Christianity helps ‘indirectly’. Do not look at the circumstances. Look unto Jesus! Paul sang in the prison. True Christianity sings in trials! When times are hard, do you still praise God with song? Philosophers do not sing! Only the true believers do! Praise the Lord somebody!
What did Abraham discover ‘after the flesh’? Three things that cannot save or justify: works, circumcision (done 14 years later) and the law (given 430 years later). He is saved and justified by Grace thru faith in the God of Grace!
Medical male circumcision means the removal of the foreskin from the male private part. Medically it is done if the baby is born with a very narrow foreskin, to prevent urinary infection. Circumcision is one of the world’s most widely performed medical procedures. About one third of all men in the world are circumcised. Among the Jews and the Muslim, it is compulsory. Europe, South America, and Asia do not practice compulsory circumcision. No major medical organization recommends circumcising all males, and no major medical organization recommends banning the procedure. It has been observed that among the circumcised male the rate of cancer (for both them and their wives) is lower; also, the rate of HIV infections is lower. These are medical facts!
God gave the promise to Abraham that his children will be like the stars 14 years before the circumcision. Circumcision is a seal to authenticate those who have believed. Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness (Gen 15:1-6). The word ‘credited’ is the same as ‘imputed, accounted, or reckoned’. It means that another Person pays into your account. In particular, because of the Blood shed on the Cross, God can use that eternal ‘credit’ on behalf of any sinner to pay Christ’s righteousness on their spiritual account (2 Cor 5:21). Soon, Abraham had Ishmael, by Hagar, the son of his flesh. He was 86 years at that time (Gen 16:16). When he was 99 years old God told Abraham to circumcise (14 years later – Gen 17:1). Circumcision was an outward sign that Abraham and his Jewish descendants belong to God. It was a visible seal. Abraham is the father (pattern, leading example) of those who were circumcised (the Jews who have faith) and those who are not circumcised (the Gentiles who also have faith). The Principle of faith is the most important thing. On its own, circumcision has no value. “Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing but keeping the commandments of God is what matters” (1Cor 7:19). Circumcision did not add anything to his justification. The Jews were boasting of their fleshly circumcision thinking that just because they did it, they are saved and justified. But Abraham was justified by faith in the God of grace alone! It is the same with us, the children of God!
THE CIRCUMCISION OF THE HEART
What is the circumcision of the heart? It is a spiritual experience. It is to cut off the spiritual skin (the power of sin) of the heart. Circumcision of the heart is a sign and a seal that you are a true believer in God and His Grace! It is more than a doctrine. It is an experience. Jesus is the Surgeon. He uses the knife (sword) of the Holy Spirit! The seal proves that you are an original son (daughter). It is also a guarantee for the final salvation (of our bodies). This seal is also called the Baptism of Fire. Jesus is the Baptizer with fire and the Holy Spirit. You cannot seal (circumcise, seal) yourself. Doctor Jesus has to do it! It eliminates the stiff-neck attitude, the stubbornness, the pride, the resisting of flesh against the Holy Spirit. To resist it means to oppose the Spirit, or to fight Him. Once circumcised in the heart you stop fighting God and His Word; you surrender, you bow and worship Jesus! God praises (publicly acknowledges) only a man who is circumcised in heart! God can only trust a circumcised in the heart man (or woman) with His power and resources (Deut 10:16 AMP, Deut 30:6. AMP; Jeremiah 4:4 AMP; Rom 2:2:29; AMP; Col 2:11-13 AMP; Ac 7:51-53; NKJ; Eph 1:13, 14; NKJ; Mt 3:11, 12; NKJ).
Finally, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh said that people should pray to experience this circumcision of the heart. You need to surrender your body to God as a living sacrifice. Like King David who, after adultery and murder, prayed: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right and steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10; AMP). In Hebrew, the word ‘create’ means to cut down or cut off. In other words, David prays that God (Elohim, the Creator God) should circumcise his heart by cutting off the desire of sin. He did not pray just for a cleansing but for a major spiritual heart transplant. David prays for a creative miracle only Surgeon Jesus can perform. He asked for a ‘steadfast spirit’. This is a spirit who stays faithful to God all his life. It is free from spiritual adultery and doubts. This seal of heart circumcision is a proof that you are a true Child of God! God does not ‘circumcise’ the unbelievers’ hearts. Revival comes when many people pray for new hearts. May it be so, Lord! “Hallelujah! Worthy is the Lamb! Worthy is the Lamb! Amen!” Worship the Lord!