“And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him… Love does not envy” (Ac 7:9; 1Cor 13:4)
Envy is defined as an unpleasant angry feeling or a bitter longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities or success. Envy is the desire to have a beautiful thing belonging to someone else. Envy wants to take the wealth that belongs to another and leave that one poor. Envy is wicked. Envy is one of the works of the flesh. It is the desire that others should not have what you do not have! Envy says: ‘If I don’t go to heaven, you should not go there too; if I don’t have Jesus, you too should miss Him.’ Envy is criminal. Envy is sin. Envy is deceptive. When envy rises in your heart, you may miss its true identity. Pray that the Holy Spirit opens your eyes to see any sin that still dwells in your flesh. Chose to live a life of sacrificial holy love. That life will kill the root of envy in your flesh! Give God all the glory!
MY TESTIMONY This incident happened about 20 years ago. I still remember the moment and the place when the Holy Spirit convicted me of the sin of envy. Somebody told me that a woman I did not like got promoted at her job. Something like a tornado started turning my stomach. I felt sick. I felt angry. I felt like vomiting. The feeling was so strong that I forgot about my ‘enemy’ and I prayed asking God: ‘What is this sickness, Lord?’ The answer came immediately: ‘It is the demon of envy that you have allowed to stay in you’. I was shocked. I thought that God will tell me it was poison, or typhoid fever or high blood pressure… But envy? I was sure that I never envied anyone. I was proud thinking myself free from the shame of envy. I thought that I am a woman who always minds her business. If it was a human being who confronted me with the sin of envy I could have argued. But it was the Holy Spirit who spoke the Word. I could not argue. I just knelt down in my kitchen, among pots and pans yet to be washed, and I prayed for forgiveness of sins, of envy in particular. I also prayed for deliverance. Something ugly left me that day. A troublesome burden fell down from my back. I gained a new peace, a new wisdom, a new strength and a new courage to pray for others. Since then, I am free. Occasionally, that familiar demon tried to deceive me and come back to my heart. But the Holy Spirit helped me to identify it before it came too close. God helped me to raise my shield of faith against it! The victory is permanent! This testimony is to the glory of God! I want to encourage you to do the same. In the name of Jesus, be free! Be filled with the Holy Spirit! Be satisfied with what God gives to you! Do not compare yourself with others. Live a life of thanksgiving! Confess and repent of envy! There is enough room for you, for all of us, at the foot of the Cross of Christ! Glory!
In Christ I declare: I shall always love God and His people! I shall never envy! I shall be satisfied with God’s provision for my life! I shall be grateful for the blessings God bestows on me and my family! I shall pray for others! I shall be grateful for the blessings God gives to others! I live a life of thanksgiving! In Jesus’ name, Amen! (From my diary, April, 2019)
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh continued preaching about the power of the Gospel. Her main text was taken from the Books of Romans: “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established— that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. 15 So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. 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.” … Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Rom 1:11-17; 13:7,8).
Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh said that the Apostle Paul wrote the Book of Romans ‘to impart’ a spiritual gift to the believers in Rome. To impart is to communicate knowledge from a great supply; to transfer revelation, to transfuse anointing from one to another. By the preaching of God’s Word, thru the power of the Holy Spirit, you can impart wisdom, anointing, revelation and love to others. To be able to impart, you must be born again, Spirit filled, spiritually generous, and willing to share your heart, your very life, with others. Apostle Paul felt like a debtor. A debtor is someone who owes something (money for example) to another. He is under obligation to pay his debt. If not, he is in trouble.
Why does Paul say that he is a debtor to all? Paul has something wonderful to give to others. The Gospel! The Gospel can be ‘imparted’ to others. That is the power of the Gospel! A Christian is defined as somebody who has eternal life, and he is able to impart it to others thru the preaching of the Gospel and thru his testimony!
Why does Paul preach the Gospel? Because Jesus called him to do so! Secondly, because he loves God and feels a sense of gratitude to God! He serves God by preaching His Gospel to all people. All need the Gospel! Paul knows the Gospel and he is ready to give it to all (men and women, educated or not, rich or poor, old and young). A preacher is not supposed to preach only to some religious group of people. All people need the Gospel. Paul preaches the same Gospel to all. All men are born sinners. They are dying. The Christian is like a doctor who can administer the right treatment even on the patient’s dying hour. The results follow. Life manifests! A preacher should not be influenced by the size or the type of congregation. He must preach and impart to all. Preach to the whole man: touch his mind, emotions and will! The Gospel itself is a wonder of supernatural power and life! The preaching of the Gospel brings tears of repentance and tears of joy! It is a wonder of transformation! This is the power of the Gospel! May we preach the Gospel to all! May we pay the debt of love that can never be repaid. Thru preaching the Gospel, Love has fulfilled the Law of God!
THE PARABLE OF TWO DEBTORS (Luke 7:36-59)
This is the miracle of salvation in the life of a sinful woman, a prostitute. She is saved by the Blood of Jesus and thru the tears of her faith! In the Word of God there is a warning not to make friends with an adulteress, with a wayward woman, or a prostitute. Thru her sinful trade, many men have backslid, and some have died (PV 7). That is why men rejected her in public, even the men who ‘used’ her in private. This woman who came to the feet of Jesus was the most infamous prostitute in the town. But against all odds, the miracle happened. She became saved. Jesus is called “The Friend of sinners” (Matt 11:19). Jesus was not afraid to touch and be touched by leprous people and prostitutes. What manner of Man is Jesus? Without the Holy Spirit you cannot understand Jesus! This woman’s river of tears is a proof of true repentance and a new heart! What is the difference between a religious man (like Simeon) and a repentant woman (like this former prostitute)? Simeon was offended that Jesus gave attention to this sinner. He is proud and self-righteous. He invited Jesus to his house so that Jesus will acknowledge his good religious deeds. He wanted the approval of Jesus. This woman with her tears, ‘spoiled his show’. He became angry. He was also jealous. Jesus should not bless her, he thought! He is the one to be blessed! He was sure that a sinful woman like this cannot be blessed with salvation and peace. According to Simeon, God should forget this woman and send her to hell. She is called ‘trash’. She cannot be saved or blessed by God. How foolish he was… So ignorant of God’s love and grace. Jesus knew Simon’s heart. He told him a parable of two debtors: One owned him one million naira and the other one thousand naira. They both could not pay their debts. The rich man cancelled both debts. Who will love him more? The one who owed the bigger debt, Simeon said. True! Jesus said that greater sins, means grater forgiveness, and that leads to greater love. The former prostitute gave all to Jesus! Unashamedly, she totally surrendered to Him even her broken heart and useless life. But Simeon, was still holding back the repentance, asking if Jesus is truly a prophet … Jesus said to the woman: your faith has saved you! Go in peace! This is peace with God beyond human understanding! Grace is a royal decree! Thru faith, peace came, and a soul was just set free from the cage of sin and death! This is an eternal salvation! Money cannot buy it. Men may be jealous, but they cannot steal it! Religion will not give you peace! Only Jesus can change the town’s greatest harlot and make her into the greatest worshipper!
The Gospel changes everything!!!! The Gospel gives you peace with God!!! This is what our city needs! Give them (not religion) but Jesus! Let us pray for Revival!!! Let us preach the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected! Love who freely died that others may live! This is the eternal debt of LOVE! For there is no story greater than that! Worship the Lord!
Jesus said: “How often I wanted to gather your children together [around Me], as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling” (Mt 23:27; AMP)
Christianity is like ‘a native’ hen with her chicks. Have you seen one? I heard that the mother hen has four types of sound when she calls her chicks. The first one is the sound of ‘come and eat’. When she finds a nice meal on the ground, she never eats it alone. She calls her children to eat with her. She also trains them to find food for themselves. The second sound is the call of ‘Play is over! Come and sleep’. They come under her wings and they sleep peacefully until tomorrow. The third sound is the call of protection from danger. When she sees a hawk flying around, she calls them saying: “Come immediately! Now!” She calls them to come under her wings, to hide in the shelter under the threat is gone. If the hawk comes down, she fights for her chicks even unto death. Fourthly, there is the sound of love. She says: “Come my beloved! I miss you! I love you! You are the best!” Love is more than food, sleep or money! Love is the extra, the spice of life! The chicks are well fed, they have played enough with each other, there is no danger, just peace. There is no problem! But the mother hen knows that her children need a reminder that they are loved and that all is well with them. Finally, let me not forget! The cock is there too, covering them all with his strength, leadership and love!
Religion is like ‘agric’ chicken. Have you seen a poultry? The eggs are all the same. The chicks hatch under the artificial light of a bulb. These chickens they look ‘cute’ but that is all. They are foolish. They do not know their parents. They live only to be sold and eaten. They are somebody’s business to make money. The saddest part of the story is that the ‘agric’ chicks will never know the sound of love. Many churches are like this: religious ‘business centers.’ There are many people who go to church, they are deeply religious, they say that they are saved but they are not. They feel lost, sad and lonely even in the church. But they hide their feelings. Jesus is calling you… Love is calling you… Are you willing to go under the everlasting arms of Jesus? Are you willing to receive and give love to Him? For He loved you first! And only love sets you free indeed!
May the Holy Spirit lead you into all truth! For Truth is a Person and His name is Jesus Christ! Jesus died and rose again, for you! Blessed are you if you are truly born again! Protected by God the Father, Loved by the Lover of your soul and Led by the Holy Spirit. May your heart sing! May your liver smile! For there is no greater love than this! Give God praise this morning!
This picture was taken exactly eight years ago (21-04-2013). We were building the sanctuary. I and this young sister called Pat were on top of the roof. This is before the roof was added. You can see Urhobo College at the background of the picture. This is what I wrote then:
“This young sister, her name is Pat. She works very hard at the church’ site during all her holidays from school. She does the same work as the rest of the (men) brothers. She asks not for any special privileges just because she is a girl. God bless her and all the servants of God who quietly work behind the scenes and faithfully serve the King of kings!”
“Lord Jesus, when my eye confronts my heart, and I realize that You have filled my heart with Your love, I am breathless with amazement. Once my heart was so small in its vision, so narrow in its compassion, so weak in its zeal for truth. Then You chose to enter my heart; and now in my heart I can see You, I can love all Your people, and I have courage to proclaim the truth of Your gospel to anyone and everyone. Lord Jesus, like wax before a fire, my heart has melted under the heat of Your love.”
These words were written by Count Nikolaus von Zinzendorf (1700-1760). He was born in a noble wealthy family in Austria. He was a German religious and social reformer, bishop and founder of the Moravian Church who sent many missionaries all over the world. Count Von Zinzendorg was a major figure of 18th century Protestantism. He was strongly against slavery. He left his exalted court position in Germany to become a spiritual leader with the Moravians. He composed many hymns. He was a great preacher of the Gospel. He suffered much persecution for his faith. The Moravians influenced John Wesley to become born again, planting the seeds of revival all over the world.
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh continued preaching about the power of the Gospel. Her main text was taken from the Books of Romans: “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established— that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. 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.” (Romans 1:1-17; NKJ)
We remind ourselves that our primary purpose as believers is to give glory to God, to worship Him! The second purpose is to become like Jesus! This is the foundation of our faith! The Book of Romans was written by the Apostle Paul to the Christians in Rome, who were mostly Gentile believers. The Holy Spirit inserted the Book of Romans immediately after the Book of Acts because of its importance in presenting the major doctrines of salvation. In the history of the Church, God has used the Book of Romans more than any other Book in the Bible to ignite revival. Many great men and women of God have been converted thru the Book of Romans.
“Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God” (Rom 1:1).
The Gospel is called ‘the Gospel of God”. It was invented by God. It belongs to God. It is God’s property. He is jealous over His Gospel! Do not ‘mess’ with it! Apostle Paul, formerly called Saul of Tarsus (4-64, AD) is the author of the Book of Romans. The first word in the Book of Romans is ‘Paul’. God has prepared His vessel in a special way. Even the unbelievers admit that he is one of the greatest minds among men. He was born in Tarsus, one of the three main cities of Greek culture (after Athens, Greece and Alexandria, Egypt). Paul was well acquainted with the Greek poets and philosophers. Paul was a Jew. He went to Jerusalem and was trained by the most famous professor of the Old Testament at that time: Gamaliel. Paul knew the scriptures and how the Jews think. He became an advocate for the Law. He also became a Pharisee, one of the best. Paul was born a free Roman citizen. This was a great honor. He knew the Roman law. Also, he knew his rights as a Roman citizen, and he used this privilege from time to time. He was extremely intelligent and zealous to do good religious works. He believed that Jesus was a blasphemer and he hated Him. He persecuted the Christians and put them in prison. In God’s time he had a dramatic crisis conversion on his way to Damascus. He saw the Resurrected Christ in person who commissioned him to preach the Gospel he once hated. He became an Apostle, a Teacher, a Pastor and an Evangelist. He died in Rome, beheaded by Emperor Nero. He wrote three quarters of all the Books in the New Testament. God used his background after his conversion to argue with the Jews against Judaism. Many Jews were confused at the beginning how to combine the faith in God in the Old Testament and the New. Paul even opposed Apostle Peter when he made a mistake becoming afraid of the Jewish leaders. Apostle Paul was used by God to preach mostly to the Gentiles who did not know the Old Testament. Paul understood the mind, the culture of both Jew and Gentile. Paul is an example of how God uses the natural gifts of a man who becomes saved. This is a good lesson: Surrender your natural gifts to God!
THE PURPOSE OF WRITING THE LETTER
“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established— that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me” (Romans 1:11, 12).
Paul was a wonderful teacher and pastor. He did not write the Book of Romans to professors or lawyers. He wrote it to the mostly simple Gentile believers living in Rome. The purpose was to establish them spiritually. He wanted to impart some spiritual gifts, to give them a fresh revelation about the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected. He wanted to increase their faith, for them to become spiritually mature and fruitful. This is the effect of the Word of God in general and especially the Book of Romans, on all who believe! Conversion is not the end of your story. It is the door, the beginning. Salvation is free because Jesus died and paid it all on the Cross. But spiritual maturity is not automatic. There is a price to pay. You must study the Word of God and pray! To be established it means: strength to stand, to be confirmed, fixed and firm on a permanent foundation; to spiritually mature and fruitful; to gain full recognition and acceptance from God and man! The opposite of being established is to be destroyed, uprooted, and confused.
THE MAJOR THEME OF THIS LETTER
The major theme of the Book of Romans is the Gospel of Christ crucified and resurrected. The Book of Romans is divided in two subsections: In Chapters 1-11 we discover the doctrines related to salvation and in chapters 12-16 we find the application of these doctrines. Both are equally important. Doctrine is like the skeleton. It gives structure and strength to the body. The application is like the muscles and the internal organs. It gives life to the body!
The word Gospel means ‘Good news’. What is that? God has done something new! God has sent His only Begotten and Beloved Son to take human flesh upon Himself, to teach men God’s will. On the Cross, Jesus died for our sins. Anyone who believes in the death of the Son of God as atonement for His sins, shall be saved from the judgment of sin, which is death. Anyone who does not believe that Christ died for him, he is already condemned. Salvation to man comes by faith in Christ alone! No one is saved by good religious works.
This is the major doctrine in the Book of Romans: Justification by faith! In other words, we are saved: by Grace alone, by faith alone, thru the Word of God alone, in Christ alone, and for the glory of God alone! The Holy Spirit applies the truth of the Word of God to our spirits so that we can believe. Man must repent of his sins and become born again! Salvation is a miracle! The Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected is the Power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. Faith means trusting in God. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and increases ‘from faith to faith’. Apostle Paul explains that ‘justification by faith’ is the only method God could have used to save sinful man. God is holy and He hates sin. He is also merciful and loving. God cannot forgive sin just by His Word. Jesus, the sinless Son of God died on behalf of sinners so that they may live.
The people for whom He died are called ‘the elect, or the chosen’. God has decreed, even before the foundation of the world, that some people will be saved. Apostle Paul explains that the New Testament method of salvation by faith is the same as during the Old Testament. Men like Abraham and King David also lived by faith. God saves by His Grace alone! God’s will cannot be frustrated. God decided to place the believers in Christ. The doctrine of the unity with Christ is foundational in understanding salvation. We were crucified with Him, died with Him, were buried with Him and resurrected with Him. We now are seated in Christ and with Christ, in heavenly places. Salvation is sure. A sinner who became born again thru faith in Christ can have total assurance of his salvation. He cannot lose his salvation! The Apostle Paul also describes the process of sanctification. Our soul and spirit are already saved. But sin is not removed from the mortal body. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body. In this way, we mature spiritually. Salvation is first to the glory of God! Secondly, is for our good.
This is the general view and understanding of the Book of Romans. You must have faith to feel its power! If by reading it you are not able to worship God and give Him all the glory for your salvation, then you have not understood it well. May the Holy Spirit open our eyes to see King Jesus, full of Grace and Truth, seated on His throne! Glory! Worship the Lord!
BREAKING THE GROUND @FATHER’S HOUSE BIBLE CHURCH;17-04-2010
Eleven years ago we gathered to pray for this land, to start laying the foundation for the new sanctuary of Father’s House Bible Church, Warri/ Effurun! We poured in the ground: milk, honey, water, olive oil and wine. Each of these is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. I testify that the Holy Spirit has led us all the way. He is present in each service. What a journey of grace and glory! The worship continues forever! To God alone be all the glory!
(Apart from Tali (Pastor Richmond Sisan Leigh), and I, do you recognize any of the brethren present that day?)
Our youngest daughter Jemine and her dear husband Matthew Oakes are expecting a baby girl! Tali (in heaven) and I (on earth) we shall be grandparents again! This baby has already brought so much joy to us who still miss her grandfather! I testify: God is good! God is faithful! To God be all the glory!
(I use my joy as a point of contact that God will answer the prayers of many who desire children. With God, nothing is impossible!)
THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL (31) JESUS CHRIST, THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh continued preaching about the power of the Gospel. Her main text was taken from the Books of Romans and Hebrews: “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…“The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Rom 1:16, 17; Ps 118:22-24)
The Book of Romans was written by the Apostle Paul to the Christians in Rome, who were mostly Gentile believers, The Book of Romans is not the first Book written by Paul (The first Letter He wrote was 1 Thessalonians). The Holy Spirit inserted the Book of Romans immediately after the Book of Acts because of its importance in presenting the major doctrines of salvation. In the history of the Church, God has used the Book of Romans more than any other Book in the Bible to ignite revival. Many great men and women of God have been converted thru the Book of Romans.
*St Augustine of Hippo (354-430) was the greatest Christian in the time between Apostle Paul and the Protestant Revolution. He was born in Algeria, Africa. His mother was a committed Christian who prayed for him every day. His father was a pagan who became saved on his death bed. He was a highly intelligent and well-educated man. He was a great Philosopher and a Professor but lived an immoral life. He was an alcoholic and a fornicator. One day, he heard a child’s voice telling him: ‘Pick up and read!’. He saw a Bible. He opened it at Romans 13. He read: “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:13, 14). Immediately, the Holy Spirit touched his heart and he believed. He repented of all his sins. He became born again. He wrote many Christians books. There was a man called Pelagius who preached error about the Christian faith. Pelagius was an English man who moved to Rome. He said that the original sin did not pollute human nature and that men have the free will to achieve human perfection without God’s Grace. He said that babies are born sinless. Augustine withstood him and using the doctrines of the Book of Romans proved him wrong. As you can see, God used Augustine when the church was still ‘a baby’ to defend it and keep its faith pure.
* John Chrysostom (347-407), the archbishop of Constantinople, was one of the early Church fathers. He wrote many books defending the Faith. He said about the Book of Romans: “Romans is the chief part of the New Testament and the very purest Gospel”. He memorized the Book of Romans and he encouraged all believers to do the same. He said that the more you study it the sweeter and more powerful it becomes!
*Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a Roman Catholic Monk and a Professor or Theology. In 1515 he was teaching his students the Book of Romans. He went to the Vatican to offer a sacrifice of humility. As he was climbing the stairs on his knees, the Holy Spirit illumined his mind and he saw that salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone. The Holy Spirit revealed to him Romans 1:17. He believed, and he was saved. He said that he felt as he was born again and that he entered thru the gates into Paradise. He led the Protestant Revolution. The Roman Catholic Church was divided. Many evangelical denominations started from that time on.
*John Bunyan (1628-1688) was born in England. He was born in a poor family and he was not well educated. He wrote the most famous book next to the Bible. It is called The Pilgrim Progress. which is the no one best seller He was a rebellious youth. But God touched him, and he got converted while reading the Bible, especially this verse: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38, 39). Because of his conversion, he suffered much. He was sent to jail where he wrote The Pilgrim Progress. This is a lesson taken from his life: while secular education is good, the greatest gift is salvation. The Holy Spirit will empower you to be a man (woman) of God. Another lesson is this: preaching doctrine is good, but it must be accompanied by application!
*John Wesley (1703-1791) was an English theologian and evangelist. He was the leader of a revival movement within the Church of England known as Methodism. He composed many Christian songs. He came from a Christian family. He was traveling to Georgia, US, to be a pastor there. During the journey there was a great storm. The ship was tossed thru and from. He met a group of German Moravian Christians who were truly born again. They were not afraid of death. They continue to sing choruses and have fellowship even during the storm. That is when John Wesley knew that he was not born again. He came back to England and he visited the church from where these Moravian Christians came from. They preached to him and prayed for him that he may be saved. Back to England, he became troubled. He was a pastor but not saved. He was invited to a home where some few brethren, every week, did Bible study. One of them stood to read Martin Luther’s Commentary on the Book of Romans. Suddenly, John Wesley felt the Holy Spirit coming to him. He said: “On the 24th of May 1738, about a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and He saved me from the law of sin and death.” John Wesley became a mighty warrior for the cause of Christ! He had problems with the Anglican Church because of his new doctrines. He never left the Anglican Church but after his death, his followers founded the Methodist denomination. John Wesley said: “The world is my parish”—a phrase that later became a slogan of Methodist missionaries. Wesley, in fact, never slowed down until he died. He preached and prayed to the end! He traveled over 4,000 miles annually, ridding on a horse, preaching some 40,000 sermons in his lifetime. Glory!
I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL!
This is the major theme of the Book of Romans: the Gospel of Christ; justification by faith alone! The Gospel is something everybody needs. This is because we are all born sinners. Christ Crucified is the only way God can forgive man. There is no other way. The rich and the poor, the educated and illiterate, are all the same before the Cross. Why did Paul say that he is not ashamed of the Gospel? There is a great temptation to be silent about the Gospel. The world hates and mocks it. Why? Man is born a sinner. He is ignorant of God and of his condition. He takes pride in education and moral achievements. He does not want to hear that the only way to heaven is to trust in a poor ‘Carpenter’, who was killed on a cross among thieves. The Gospel has no attraction to both Jews and Gentiles. It is a stumbling block and foolishness to them. The world loves philosophy, poems and literature. Not the preaching of the Gospel! The rich educated men hate it the most. Intellectual pride is the greatest stronghold against the Gospel. Many preachers have compromised the Gospel and they present Christ as a Hero for humanity, a great Teacher or a Helper during troubles. They avoid the Cross and what it represents! They are ashamed of the Cross. This ‘edited’ version of the Gospel is called ‘another Gospel’. It has no power to save or change men. To preach another Gospel brings God’s curse upon the preacher (Gal 1:6-12). The true Gospel humbles men. It reveals to them that they are born sinners; that they cannot save themselves. The natural men hate to be humbled. That is why they hate the Gospel. They want to take pride in saving themselves thru good works or religion. They hate to give all glory to God. The Gospel is not man’s idea, another philosophy or teaching invented by men. The Gospel is unique. It comes from heaven, from God. It is the way revealed from God on how a sinner should be saved. The righteousness offered to men is totally from God. It cannot be bought with money or by man’s effort. It comes by faith in the Gospel, Christ crucified and resurrected. Why should we not be ashamed of the Gospel? For only one reason: It is the only power of God unto salvation for all who believe! This is the reason that kills all fears of rejection and mockery from men!
JESUS CHRIST THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps 118:22-24)Psalm 118 is the most quoted Psalm in the New Testament. Let us exalt Christ, the Chief Cornerstone! Christ’ resurrection confirmed His power to be God and Savior, as the Son of Man and Son of God. The fear of God must replace the fear of man! Because Christ arose, His mercy endures forever! What is the Chief Cornerstone? The builders must choose one stone to be use for the foundation. They will say ‘this one is not good… this one is good’. Since ancient times, builders have used cornerstones in their construction projects. A cornerstone was the principal stone, usually placed at the corner of an edifice, to guide the workers in their course. The cornerstone was usually one of the largest, the most solid, and the most carefully tested of any in the edifice. Once the cornerstone was set, it became the basis for determining every measurement in the remaining construction; everything was aligned to it. The Bible describes Jesus as the Chief Cornerstone that His church would be built upon. He is foundational. As the cornerstone of the building of the church, Jesus is our standard of measure and alignment. This stone called Jesus was rejected by the builders. But God set it in the highest place of prominence. Jesus went to the lowest and God raised Him to the highest place! From death to life! His story, the Gospel, is marvelous in our eyes! Because of His death and resurrection, His mercy towards us endures forever! Peter, stood before the Sanhedrin, after doing a miracle, and boldly, he said: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:8-13). The Pharisees saw that Peter and the other disciples were un-educated men but that they have been with Jesus! To be with Jesus!!! This is the greatest recommendation for ministry! Why is God’s work marvelous in our eyes? Jesus and His Gospel have been rejected by men! Jesus humbled Himself so low and God raised Him so high! This is marvelous! It is not just learning a doctrine, but it is worship; it involves our emotions! It humbles us and gives us hope! Men choose handsome, socially privileged, well educated, and famous men for positions of authority! As a Man, Jesus was none of this! Men do not choose a poor carpenter to be their King or God! Jesus was born in a manger (not in a palace). The first smell baby Jesus felt was the smell of animals. His ministry was a little more than three years. He chose simple people to be his disciples. His glory was veiled before the world. The Son of God that had all that glory in heaven, set it aside and chose to live like an ordinary man. This is marvelous! Why did He set aside His glory? Because He loved His own. He did not want them to fall in love with His glory, or His riches. Jesus needed to die as a Man for men! His glory as God was always there but it was hidden by the flesh, in the body God prepared for Him! Jesus was like “The Secret Millionaire”- movie! This attitude is the opposite of the natural man’s lifestyle! As sinners, we want to look better than we are! We reject the strategy of Jesus, the ways of God! Paul preached in weakness but with the power of the Holy Spirit. “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Cor 2:4). Salvation, healing cannot be bought! The natural man has always rejected the Gospel. The preaching of the Word is power! Nations have changed by the preaching of the Gospel! Many have been saved! The Gospel gives glory to God and prepares men for heaven! It ignites worship! It brings revival! In heaven we shall worship God forever! This is the purpose of man! Jesus prayed before He died so that the glory that He had with the Father will be restored to Him. He never lost His glory, but it was hidden, covered by human body and ordinary clothes. “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:4, 5). The story of Jesus is the power of the Gospel. It is not enough for you to know it in your mind. It must move you! You must feel its holy transforming power. Are you born again? If not, then surrender your life to the Lord Jesus Christ! If yes, let us fall at His feet and adore our King! Worship the Lord!
“You saved the best until now, Lord Jesus” (John 2:10)
All marriages, no matter how strong, will eventually ‘finish’ their wine of joy and passion and end up ‘dry’: no hatred, no love, just ‘water- surviving’ arrangement. There is a moment when you discover that all the love has been exhausted on daily errands and the boring routine of life. There is a moment when fear will grip the heart that your secret relationship failure will become a public display; ‘They have no more wine…’That place of loneliness, disappointment and shame is the moment for the true Friend to step in and help. The best marriage counselors are not found seated at the table waiting to be served. They are found in the background, among the servants, who know the secret of brewing the miracle of supernatural love that never dies. Once you taste from the latter wine, once you are willing to allow God to love your spouse through your heart, your marriage will receive the stamp of heaven and will survive divorce… in fact, will defeat even death. Never forget the power of the latter rain! That is where the glory dwells!
In Christ I declare: My marriage belongs to God! Jesus is the Lord of my marriage, the Red Cord that can never be broken! I will never lose hope in my marriage for my spouse is a gift from God and God never makes mistakes! My marriage shall last until death will ‘part’ us! Nothing else will be able to destroy it before death! I hate divorce! Like the wine, my marriage shall be better as we get older! Holy romance shall always ‘bubble’ in my marriage! The best is yet to come!In Jesus’ name, Amen!
PS. My beloved husband, Pastor Richmond Sisan Leigh and I were married for 47 years. In July 2020, he suddenly went to heaven. The Lord Jesus Christ is now my husband. He has given me supernatural peace, strength, courage and joy. He who changed water into wine is mine forever! This new wine will never end… In the picture taken some years ago, my husband and I… To God alone be all the glory!
THE DOCTRINE OF THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST AND OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh continued preaching about the power of the Gospel. Her main text was taken from the Books of Romans and Hebrews: “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” …. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you … For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (Rom 1:16, 7; 8:10-11; 8:22-25)
We live in spiritual season called ‘The Last Days’. This season started with the first coming of Christ, two thousand years ago. There is a day called ‘The Last Day’ (also called the Judgment Day, or the Day of Redemption, or the Day of the Lord Jesus Christ). At that Last Day Christ will come again. This is His second coming to earth, to judge and to reward. He will come visibly, with His angels and the souls and the spirits of the believers who have been in heaven. The believers shall receive new bodies. The dead in Christ shall rise first, receive their new spiritual bodies and now complete, they shall rise and meet the Lord in the air. This holy process is less than a second! In a twinkling of an eye! The believers who are alive at that time shall be changed instantly, without passing thru death. They too shall receive their new bodies and meet the Lord in the air. This is not a spiritual resurrection but a bodily resurrection. Then, the believers shall be complete, like Jesus, united forever with Him! This event is also called the Rapture or the Blessed Hope! It signifies the complete salvation of the believer, body, soul and spirit! (By the way, nothing is said about the body resurrection of the unbelievers!).
The Second Coming of Christ has been promised by Him. It is our Blessed Hope! His second coming to earth shall be hugely different than His first coming. It will be sudden (like a thief in the night; 1Thessolanians 5:2), Bodily, Visible, Powerful and Glorious. “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17)
The doctrine of the Second of Coming of Christ and the redemption of the bodies is much neglected. Many pastors do not preach these doctrines. They are tired to wait for this Blessed Hope. Fear of death is another factor. Because these scriptures are read at burials, many believers associate them with death. They avoid reading them. Also, they think that these scriptures are not ‘practical’ enough to live a happy life in this world. Another reason is this: many prophesies have been made about the end times. All have failed. That is why the pastors avoid this subject. But this is the deception of the devil. The purpose of this doctrine is for us to have greater hope, to be serious with God and to worship Him even more!
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for THE BLESSED HOPE, and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Tit 2:11-14). The Grace of God teaches and helps us how to die to sin. The doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ is the greatest incentive to sanctification, to holy living. As we look ahead to our Blessed Hope, we purify ourselves as He is pure, and we are ready to serve Him even more!
At the last day, when our Lord comes again, we the believers shall receive new bodies, spiritual bodies like Christ. We shall rise from the earth and meet the Lord to be with Him forever. This is not just a spiritual resurrection. It is bodily. It is not just the continuation of the spirit but the body as well. In the ancient world, once a king comes to visit a city, his friends come to welcome him, while the wicked ones, his enemies, they hide behind, afraid of his judgement! Our Lord was born on the earth and He died on this earth. Man, too was made of dust, dies and is buried in the earth. But at the resurrection, having our spiritual bodies, we shall meet the Lord in the air and not on the ground. At the resurrection, we shall be ‘caught up’ in the air. The word ‘caught up’ means to be violently snatched as by robbery. The angels will snatch us and take us on the clouds to rise and meet the Lord! Encourage each other with these words. The word ‘Encourage’ is the Greek word ‘parakletos’, the same as for the Holy Spirit. It means a Helper, a Friend who comes close to help, encourage and strengthen you. Therefore, preaching about the second coming and our resurrection, releases the anointing of the Holy Spirit in a special powerful way! When our Lord shall come again, the believers who have died (slept in the Lord) shall arise first. The believers who will be alive at that time shall immediately change from the natural body to the spiritual body, without passing thru death. The spiritual body shall rise thru the power of the clouds. Our Lord was raised by the clouds (Acts 1:9). In the same way, the believers will rise lifted by the clouds of glory. This is a reminder of the doctrine of the unity of Christ and His body, to the glory of God!
The frustration of the natural creation corrupted by sin has affected us. But our hope is that one day, Jesus will come and change our bodies to be like Him. This revelation will produce faith and perseverance. We know that our future is better than the past. No more fear of death! (Rom 8:22-25). “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Phil 3:20-21) Our spiritual bodies will be like the body of our Lord! ‘Lowly body’ is also translated the weak mortal body, vile (KJ), the Body of humiliation. Our new bodies will be totally free from sin and its polluting effects. It encourages us to stand firm in the faith, have the hope of glory and serve Jesus forever! These scriptures deliver us from all inferiority complexes concerning our bodies, from the fear of sickness, depression, fear of the future, old age and death! We must preach the complete Word of God. The preaching of the doctrine of the second coming releases a special anointing to comfort and encourage the brethren. It tells us that our future is better than our present! I may not know what the immediate future may hold, but I know the ultimate glorious future and best of all, I know Him who holds my future! Glory! Worship the Lord!