THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD REVEALED

THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST (3) – THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD REVEALED  

During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled “The righteousness of God revealed”. Her main text was taken from the Books of Romans, Matthew and Mark. “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” (Rom 1:16, 17). “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Mt 5:6).

“Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” So, Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.” And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. So, Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road” (Mk 10:46-52).

*Righteousness defined: Dictionaries define righteousness as “behavior that is morally justifiable or right.” A justifiable behavior means an action, an emotion, or an idea that is acceptable or correct because there is a good reason for it. Justifiable behavior can be defended as reasonable. God is totally Righteous. In the Old Testament the promised Savior was to be called “The Lord Our Righteousness’ (Jehovah Tsidkenu).  “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jehovah Tsidkenu)” (Jer 23:5,6). This promised Branch of Righteousness from the lineage of King David, is our Lord Jesus Christ! The Gospel brings the Good News from Heaven that our Lord died as a Sustitute for sinners who believe in Him. God justifies the sinner by His declaration in the court of heaven, because of the merit of Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is the Substitute and who died for the sinner. The sinner who has faith in the Lod Jesus Christ, becomes justified by God and before God. Justification means three things: forgiveness of sins, a new imputed righteousness of Christ (as a covering robe given to the sinner) and a new standing and relationship before God.  To impute it means to credit another, to charge another for the payment of your debt. Righteousness applies to both character and behavior, especially in relationships with God and man. To be righteous it means to be right with God, and to behave in a way that is acceptable to God. Righteousness is both a standing and a behavior. This righteous behavior manifests towards God and man. God expects perfect righteousness. No sinner can come before God and live. The righteousness that God expects is total obedience to His Law. But no sinner is able to obey the Law. The only Man who ever obeyed God’s Law completely is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is totally Righteous. A sinner becomes justified, righteous before God, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who has fulfilled the law” (Mt 5:17). By faith in the death and resurrection of our Lord, we become saved. We receive a righteousness that is even greater than that of the Pharisees, who were very religious and outwardly, without fault. But their heart, their spirit, was not right with God. The Lord said that: unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:20). This righteousness of Christ imputed on the sinner is the only way to become saved. This is a revelation!

*Righteousness is found in Christ alone. Because of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, as our Substitute, God the Father declares the sinner justified. This is the doctrine of Justification by Grace alone, by Faith alone. Justification means forgiveness of sins, a new standing before God and a new righteousness given to the sinner, to cover him. This is called ‘the imputed righteousness of Christ’, the free gift of God! It is apart from the law.  God gave man His laws. But man, being a sinner, is not able to obey the laws of God. By the obedience of God’s Law, no man can be righteous. So how can a man stand before God and be accepted by Him? “How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman?” (Job 25:4). The answer to this old question is found at the Cross. This is the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected. “We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:20, 21).

*This righteousness of God in Christ is ‘revealed’. In Greek, the word ‘revealed’ means to remove the cover, to bring something to the light, to make a difficult truth to be plain and simple. It is purely the work of the Holy Spirit. It cannot be gained by man’s efforts, intelligence, or science. It does not come by the natural senses. It cannot be ‘borrowed’ from another. Man’s wisdom is expressed thru philosophy. The natural man, the philosophers do not believe in miracles or in revelation. Their ideas are the product of man’s wisdom, who rejects the wisdom of God. Many preachers now are religious philosophers. They do not believe in revelation, in the work of the Holy Spirit. Their sermons are based on human logic. They lack the power to convict of sin, to save the souls of men. The preaching of the Gospel is the power of God because it is the work of the Holy Spirit! Revelation is in another realm. It is spiritual.  It is the direct unique work of the Holy Spirit upon the soul of man. Like a man who sleeps, in the morning, he wakes up… Like a man born blind, he suddenly sees… His life will never be the same again…And best of all, a dead man rises to life again. These are all symbols of what is called ‘revelation’. The things he has experienced cannot be learned from books or from other people. He knows that he was blind, but now, he can see. He knows that he was dead, but now he is alive. The Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected is preached. The Holy Spirit uses the Word to reveal Christ and His righteousness to the soul of man. The instrument for this revelation is faith in God and in Christ crucified. This is how a man becomes saved, born again, by the Spirit of God. He believes that Christ died for him, and God has now justified him by His grace alone. This man can never boast of His faith, or of his own righteousness. He knows it is by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, that God has done a deep work in him. The Word of God becomes alive in him. There is no Christianity apart from this revelation!   

BLESSED RIGHTEOUSNESS

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Mt 5:6)

How can you know this righteousness? By strongly desiring it! In Greek, the word ‘blessed’ means to be happy, to be congratulated. To be filled it means to be full to overflow, to be satisfied, to have more than enough. The word ‘righteousness’ means to be right with God and man. It is a word that describes moral character and right relationships. The world’s greatest need is for more righteous men and women.  “Righteousness [moral and spiritual integrity and virtuous character] exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (PV 14:34; AMP). Righteousness is a spiritual gain to any nation. It is not a political achievement. It rises its level of living, peace, and security. Sin does the opposite. It lowers the level of living, peace, and security. That is why, the preaching of the Gospel of Christ Crucified is the greatest blessing and investment you can contribute to the blessing of any nation. Preaching the Gospel may look like a long, indirect road to bless a person, a family, or a nation. But it is the only sure way approved by God! “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Mt 6:33). The study and the search to know our Lord, His Kingdom and His righteousness, has great benefits. By focusing on this, God will supply all that you need even without you laboring much. This is His promise! Oh, that you believe it!

The first thing we should observe is that as a child of God, you should not seek after blessedness, after happiness. The world seeks after happiness. They think that wealth or entertainment will help them achieve that. But God’s law is that happiness is not what you seek directly. If you do that, you will never find it. That is why all worldly people, as they get older, they get frustrated, bitter, and depressed. They are disappointed at life, at God. The correct way is to desire righteousness, to be right with God. Finding that, you will become happy! This is the Gospel! Apostle Paul sometimes uses the word ‘righteousness’ to mean ‘Justification’. But in this verse, the word ‘righteousness’ means justification and sanctification. It describes the personal righteousness, the testimony of a changed character of a child of God. Many people dream and desire to be beautiful, famous, or wealthy. The child of God should desire to experience and manifest the righteousness of Christ; to be like Jesus in this world. When you study our Lord, you are impressed with His wisdom, patience with difficult people, compassion with the needy, strength to overcome trials, His joy in His fellowship with the Father. Don’t you want to be like Jesus?

To be hungry and thirsty for this righteousness it means that you hate sin, in all its forms. You know that sin separates you from God. You know that sin offends and grieves God. You hate it the way God hates it. The Holy Spirit convicts you of sin. You become more sensitive to sin. You repent quickly. This is a blessed contrite heart that God blesses. Do you want to offer a sacrifice to God that He will not refuse? “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.” (Ps 51:17). Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and quickly repent of any revealed sin, big or small. That makes God happy!

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Ps 42:1, 2). This was King David’s cry. It should be ours too. To hunger and thirst for something, is to desire that thing until the point of desperation, of pain. Hunger for food, or thirst for water is not satisfied with mere words. In the same way, seeking God in Christ, is not easily satisfied with religious empty words. Until you find food to eat and water to drink, you remain restless, and desperate. In the same way, you must desire to be free from sin, to be holy like Jesus! Nothing else will satisfy! This is a deep need, a deep longing, to be free from the guilt, power, and the pollution of sin! Do you hate sin? If you have been in love with somebody, then you know the longing and the power of such a thirst. In seeking Jesus and His righteousness, your heart will become desperate, almost to the point of death. The Holy Spirit leads and monitors this spiritual seeking.

What is the end of this desperate road? The Holy Spirit has promised to come and by His direct revelation, He will fill you with Himself. He will satisfy your soul. Christ will now dwell in your heart. You will be thirsty for the devil poisoned water no more. You will be hungry for the world’s deceptive riches no more. You will be happy, fulfilled, beyond words can say. Filled with God’s righteousness means that you now have new fulfilling relationships with God and man. A righteous man is not only a true worshipper but the best brother and friend.  Imagine a marriage or a relationship where both are filled with the Holy Spirit! That is a taste of heaven on earth! This filling, this experience happens immediately. It is purely by the revelation of God the Holy Spirit. But its impact will continue all your life. The holy seeds of righteousness will bloom and produce fruits in your heart for as long as you live. Your life will be ‘spoiled for the ordinary’. You will never be satisfied with just a little religion. You will forever long for to be in the heavenly places! You are now seated with Jesus, reigning in His name! Glory to God! This is the price to pay for revival! Worship the Lord!

BLIND BARTIMAEUS

This is the story of the miracle Jesus did, to give sight to a blind man called Bartimaeus. His name means ‘Son of Timaeus’. His father’s name, Timaeus means defiled, rejected or blind. He was a blind man; the son of a blind man. He was seated along the road, begging for food or money. He cannot see but he can hear. His hearing compensated for his lack of sight. He is dressed in a special robe given to the members of the ‘association of beggars.’ Every day he listens to men’s voices. Some are rude, many are angry. He knows them all. One day, in the midst of men’s voices, he heard a different sound. It was a voice that came with authority, compassion, and love. He was told that this man is called Jesus! Immediately he heard His name, something started stirring deep in his heart. This was the promised Messiah, the Son of David, The Lord our Righteousness… he thought to himself. He suddenly knew that Jesus alone has the answer to his need. He started shouting His prophetic name: “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Angry men tried to quench his hope, his faith, his voice. But he knew that this may be the opportunity of a lifetime. He shouted even more, above the voices of men. Suddenly, the crowd stopped. He felt the tension of silence. Then the Man Jesus said: Call him! The same man who pushed him aside in the morning, suddenly become kind and said: ‘Be of good cheer! The Teacher is calling you! Get up!’ That is all he needed to hear. He threw his garment of begging, of sin, poverty, and hopelessness. Standing on his feet, naked and vulnerable, Bartimaeus slowly came to his Lord. Jesus asked: What do you want me to do for you? Many ideas started running in his mind… ‘I know that Jesus is able to give me anything. I believe… I can ask for money, then I will never beg again. I will be a blind millionaire… I can ask for a wife and children… that is good, but I will not see them… I know what I will ask… I will ask for something only God can give… No man can give to me…’ Faith rises in his soul… Faith is wise… Faith is power! He said: ‘Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.’ Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” Suddenly, his eyes opened, and he saw Jesus! He saw the people! The miracle of life and sight was granted to him! He started to follow Jesus along the road, praising His holy name! What a story! Whoever believes, and not doubt, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, shall not be disappointed! Oh, blessed holy faith! The power of the Gospel! Worship the Lord!

JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ONLY

THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST (2)

During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled “The Doctrine of Justification by faith only”. 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” … “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore, by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom 1:16, 17: 3:19-24).

THE BOOK OF ROMANS – INTRODUCTION

Concerning the major doctrines of salvation, The Book of Romans is the most important Book in the Bible, followed by the Book of Ephesians.  God used the Book of Romans more than any other book to ignite revival all over the world. Great men of God got converted thru the study of Romans. Among them were St. Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther, John Bunyan, John Wesley, and others. The Book of Romans was written by Apostle Paul. He was one of the most intelligent men who ever live on earth. He was born in Tarsus, one of the three greatest cities at that time (the other two were Athens, Greece and Alexandria, Egypt). His father sent him to Jerusalem to study under the famous Gamaliel. Paul was highly educated. He was a lawyer, a religious pharisee. He was also born a Roman citizen. That gave him many rights and privileges. The letter to the Romans simply starts with his name: ‘Paul’. Many consider this letter to be the greatest piece of human writing.

JESUS PREACHED THE GOSPEL

“After John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:14, 15). It is called the Gospel (the Good News) of the Kingdom of God. Our Lord is the King of that kingdom. God promised that one day the Messiah, the Savior, the Redeemer will come! He will crush the head of the serpent! The Kingdom came with King Jesus! Sinners are commanded to repent and believe in the Gospel! To repent it means a complete change of mind, of the way of thinking. The sinner must truly repent of his own sin, of pride, of self-righteousness. The sinner must believe that he is an enemy to God and that he needs a Savior. He must believe that King Jesus is the only Savior for men. Faith in Christ Crucified is the key to experience salvation, to have eternal life. A sinner’s life is like a man’s house in ruins, like after war or earthquake. He must remove the fallen walls and clear the ground before God can build a new one! This is the Gospel we preach: Christ Crucified and Resurrected! Stop looking at yourself! You can’t save yourself! Look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith! Salvation is a revelation and a miracle! Repent and believe! Do both!      

JUSTIFICATION BY GRACE AND BY FAITH ALONE

Justification by faith alone is one of the greatest Biblical doctrines. You must study it and try to understand it. It’s power to save comes only by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. This is the power of the Gospel! God shows you how He saved you! The word ‘justification’ is found especially in the New Testament. The general definition is this: based on the merit of the sacrifice of God’s Son on the Cross, God the Father declares the sinner to be a saint! This declaration starts with immediate effect, and it is eternal! Justification is Forgiveness of sins, a new Covering (the imputation of Christ’ righteous upon the sinner) and a new Standing of the sinner before God! The opposite word is ‘condemnation’, the act of finding someone guilty of sin, an enemy of God! Justification as a concept appears even in the Old Testament. “Keep yourself far from a false matter; do not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the wicked” (Ex 23:7). “If there is a dispute between men, and they come to court, that the judges may judge them, and they justify the righteous and condemn the wicked” (Deut 25:1)“He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord” (PV 17:15)

The doctrine of Justification says that The Sovereign God, The Creator of the universe, The Eternal Judge, declares a sinner righteous, based on the merit of His Son Jesus Christ, who died as a substitute for that sinner. God reckons Faith in Christ Crucified as righteousness. Justification is a legal term, a forensic term. It is a declaration done by the Judge in the court of the universe, that the sinner is guilty no more and free from condemnation. He is now a child of God! He can now come freely, without fear, without shame, before God. A sinner cannot stand before God! Justification is God’s work, done by Grace alone. Once God declares a sinner justified, he is free from the penalty of the law. God sees that one as righteous in His presence because he is now found in Christ! No man can be justified by works, by keeping the law of God. It is only by faith, by Grace alone!

The Catholic Church and other denominations, believe that sanctification comes before justification. They believe that God infuses grace into the sinner, thru the baptism or the Holy Communion. They believe that as man comes to church, he gets holy little by little, and he will finally be justified. That is why many people ‘try to make heaven’ by obeying the law, by their good works. This is a wrong doctrine! Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a Roman Catholic monk. He tried to be free from the guilt of sin by obeying the law. He discovered that it was not possible. He became frustrated. One day, the Holy Spirit opened the eyes of his understanding and he saw that justification is by grace, by faith, thru Christ, Thru the Word of God and for His glory alone! Immediately he became born again! Because of that he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. He started the Reformation. A great revival started with Luther’s conversion. This is a great part of the History of the Church Universal.  

The truth is that Justification is done by God before sanctification! Based on the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, God the Father declares a sinner justified. God does not justify the righteous man. He justifies the sinner! Justification does not change a sinner internally. Justification is a once and forever act. It is the beginning, the foundation of salvation. After that, comes Sanctification, the work of the Holy Spirit, which is a process that lasts a lifetime. It changes the justified sinner into a mature believer. Justification is an act done outside the sinner. Sanctification is a process done inside the heart of the justified sinner. Justification is more than forgiveness of sins. It is also a spiritual covering. The Justified sinner is now dressed in the imputed righteousness of Christ, having a new standing before God!  

These are some basic points about Justification:

• Justification comes apart from the law; that is, we cannot earn justification through rule-keeping or our own good works.

• Justification is made possible in the sacrificial death of Christ; it is based on the shed blood of Christ.

• Justification is the free Grace gift of God bestowed on those who receive by faith the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

JESUS FORGIVES AND HEALS A PARALYTIC (Lk 5:15-26)

Jesus became famous especially because of His healing the sick. The more famous He became, the more he withdrew to be alone with His Father and pray. His prayer life sustained our Lord all His days on earth. These are great lessons for us! Abiding in the secret place of the Most High God, praying and worshipping God, is the secret of a successful and fruitful ministry!

In Luke chapter 5 we see a wonderful story, how our Lord healed a paralytic. The four men have faith that Jesus can heal their friend. The paralyzed man has faith too. You see the great compassion the friends have. This reflects God’s mercy. The man was paralyzed lying on a mat. This paralysis was the result of an injury to the spine or the last stage of syphilis (an incurable sexually transmitted disease at that time). It is possible that the man still connected his sexual sins with his sickness. They damage the roof so that their friend can come to Jesus, who was teaching the Word of God. We are told that the power to heal sick bodies was present. The sick man had faith that he can be healed. This is the perfect example of a man who needs forgiveness of sins and healing of the body. They wanted healing but Jesus refused their request initially. Jesus gave the man something better. Forgiveness is greater than healing. Jesus saw their faith! Jesus saw inside the sick man’s heart. He knew that he was repentant! Jesus calls him: ‘Man… Friend… Son’ (Mt 9:2). The men’s faith manifested as a desire to come closer to Jesus. Their faith was not easily discouraged by hindrances. They knew that they had to pay for the damaged roof. But faith is stronger than the rebuke from men. Jesus saw ‘their faith’. That includes the sick man’s faith too. He wanted physical healing. Jesus gave him something better. He justified him. He forgave his sins. This is the gift of eternal life, the greatest gift of all. The religious leaders were there like secret police, to investigate Jesus! They grumbled saying: “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Lk 5:21). They were right in saying that only God forgives sins. This is because sin is an offence against God. But they were wrong in their spirits because they did not believe that Jesus is God! This tells us that it is possible to have the right doctrine and still be lost! Examine your heart and not only your mind!

Our Lord knew their secret thoughts of the religious leaders and confronted them saying: “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” (Lk 5:23, 24). Humanly speaking, it is easier to say: “your sins are forgiven”. It is harder to say: “Rise up and walk”. This is because the miracle of healing must be proved for people to see. But the truth is that forgiveness of sins is much harder than physical healing, even for Jesus (I am speaking as a human being)!!! This is because our Lord died on the Cross, for God to be able to justify us, to forgive our sins. Our Lord forgave the man’s sins and healed his body. He paid the price for man to become children of God; the greatest price of all!

Finally, the healed man stands up healed. He carries the mat that carried him. He came thru the roof, now he leaves thru the door. All men praise God for witnessing ‘strange, extraordinary things’ that day! This is another great lesson: there is no sin Jesus cannot forgive! There is no sickness that Jesus cannot heal! May your faith rise and walk! Give glory to the Savior! Worship the Lord!

LORD, GIVE ME YOU!

“Please show me Your glory.” (Ex 33:18)

This evening, the prayer meeting was wonderful. This ‘wonderfulness’ was not because we were smart, spiritual or strong. It was purely because the Wonderful Counselor was in our midst. Initially, we tried to pray some little prayers but ‘the engine oil’ of the anointing was not enough for such a time as this… Wobbling between petty requests, we finally got to the mind of the Spirit. He said: ‘Glory!’ This became was our congregational and individual prayer: “Oh, Lord, Please show me Your glory.” (Ex 33:18). We also prayed: ‘Lord, give me You!’

The religious spirits tried to hinder the flow. They tried to distract us, reminding us about our natural needs. Suddenly, angry voices remembered us that we need to cook for tomorrow; that we need to pay the house rent at the end of the moth and school fees for children… But the Holy Spirit, the Lifter of our heads was pointing to much higher. ‘Where Lord?’…It was a good choice to disengage from looking around, from looking at our circumstances… Nothing new in Nigeria… same old stuff, not worthy to be brought before the throne of grace… but what else should we pray for?…

With the strength that moves the mountains, we looked up on the beautiful face of Jesus… the Author and Finisher of our faith… Without faith no one can pleases the Lord… Faith makes us pleasing to God… it was so refreshing to feel pleasing to our Savior… Then Grace sang a solo song… the song of the unmerited favor money cannot buy… ‘Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me… I once was lost… But now… But now!!! I am found!!! Was blind but now I see! Grace is greater than all our sins… We rejoiced in the grace released at Calvary… Old things passed away before our very eyes… all things changed and became new… It is a newness that lasts forever, the unfading newness of life… Then the heavenlies opened and we were invited in… We steeped in like Moses…Like David… No fear…  we are walking on the clouds of glory… I’m not afraid! ‘Show me Your glory!’

For a second I panicked… I looked around… simple men and women… from Effurun, Nigeria… None was properly dressed… No designer clothes… just some Tee-shirts and jeans… We did not look like much… It flashed thru my mind that if the big men of God knew the release of glory here, they could have come to fill their buckets with it… But none came… It was the glory love of the Father for us… for us… for us… We looked like the servants who filled the jars of water at the wedding in Cana… we were entrusted with the secret of the party when the sadness melted in jars of clay…We kept pouring wine to others…The Bride must be happy tonight… the special wine kept for the last hour… We got drunk in His presence… We ‘managed’ to say ‘Thank You’ to the King of Glory… Shaking, we gratefully piled one crown on top of another, we crowned Him as the King of kings… Fear free and glory gazing we bowed down to worship Him alone… My Lord….

(From my notes, after the prayer meeting called ‘Saturday Class’, 18-10-2018)

TESTIMONY OF REVIVAL

TESTIMONY OF REVIVAL

A dear sister from the church sent me this wonderful testimony. After many years of struggling, spiritually and financially, I see the rain drops of mercy and grace on her and her family. I can testify that she is paying the price for spiritual maturity. She attends church activities. She serves God the best way she can. Oh, I am so happy to see that our sheep and lambs are maturing in Christ! Read and be inspired! She will read your comments! To God be all the glory!  

“Dear Malia,

God bless you mother for the great n mighty works He is using you to do, and God bless Tali in heaven for laying a very solid. Concrete foundation in d heart of each of his children that even in his departure the fire is burning even more. His teachings echoes in our hearts even more now. To God be all the glory!

I have so many testimonies to share but let me share these few ones. During resumption of service after the covid, I was finding it difficult to take the 4kids especially to weekly service alone.  Then I had a dream and saw u telling me to be coming to church and you pointed some soldiers and told me that they will help me carry my load that I should come. That was how I resumed. I didn’t get the full message of the dream until like a year later when a lady came to meet me that I am really trying that she was watching me during the Wednesday service that I carried my baby on my back from d beginning to end of service n I told her it’s God immediately that dream scene flashed in my eyes when u said the soldiers will help me carry my load and I was in awe. I said so because I didn’t even realize I was carrying baby in my back sef. It was nothing to me at all n when people say I’m trying in my heart, it’s something I enjoy doing bringing the kids to the house of their father God. I can’t go to church without my kids n even during cleaning, I use to find it difficult but now I enjoy taking them along n they even beg me that they want to clean🤣🤣 To God be all the gloryyyyyy!!!

Again ma, during their promotion exam last term, my kids got all A’s. There was no B in any of their results n during the graduation party. My first daughter was called out for the award of best student in Kg2. I was in awe n I bowed b4 their Father n teacher in Heaven n gave HIM all the glory. The worst part is my mind did not even go there at all because we didn’t do revision with the kids at all n we didn’t even employ lesson teacher n to our greatest surprise I was called out to receive the award. I just knew it was God and I give HIM all the gloryyyyyy!!!

Again ma, during Genesis 3 series the Lord delivered me from the spirit of laziness. when u talked about some people praying to have time to be doing nothing and just sitting, I was actually that type right from time. I go to shop very late n close very early many times n sometimes I don’t even open my shop. Most people don’t even know if there is shop like mine here. I just stay at home relaxing n doing exercise n I’m praying for God to bless my business🤣. It was during d service when u said God blesses hard work. I realized I have been a fool. The next day I followed my husband to do school runs and from there I went to my shop. The worst part is my shop is a stone throw from my house n I just stay home. Now I am asking myself what has been wrong with me. Everyone is surprised n asking me if this is me🤣. My husband has “big big” dreams n like u said, I humbled myself n prayed for God to give me d anointing of “big big”. My home is taking a new shape now. My husband now discusses business matters with me now n told me he will encourage my business more now (when God blesses him) when he started seeing seriousness. God has been faithful in teaching me to handle cooking n d rest. After that single act, I am now seeing peace, love, romance, and tighter friendship. I am a very happy woman now. I have never experienced such level of peace n love in my marriage before n the funniest thing is that there is no much money like that lest we say is because of the money that we have this kind of peace n joy. No wonder u said yesterday that God wants to give us more than money. Indeed, He is doing it already n I no money of necessity will come. I am so so happy mummy n I thank God for everything. He is such a good n loving father n of course, a great master planner. I love you JESUSSSSSSSSSS!!!

Thank u mummy for training us like soldiers n I am happy to be a soldier also training soldiers (my kids) for the Lord. We love u mummy❤️. I pray I impact people in my generation in the way of the Lord. God help me! God bless you Ma!!!”

OUR GOD REIGNS!

THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST (1) – OUR GOD REIGNS!

During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached a sermon titled “The Power of the Gospel of Christ (1); “OUR GOD REIGNS!”. Her main text was taken from the Book of Romans, 1 Thessalonians and Isaiah. “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.” (Rom 1:16, 17); “Our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance” (1Thess 1:5); How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Is 52:7)

THE BOOK OF ROMANS – INTRODUCTION

Concerning the major doctrines of salvation, the Gospel of Christ, The Book of Romans is the most important Book in the Bible, followed by the Book of Ephesians.  God used the Book of Romans more than any other book to ignite revival all over the world. Great men of God got converted thru the study of Romans. Among them were St. Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther, John Bunyan, John Wesley, and others. The Protestant Reformation and Revival started during the time of Martin Luther. He was a Roman Catholic monk, a professor of theology. By the power of the Holy Spirit, he received the revelation that salvation is by faith in Christ Jesus and not by religious works. God used Romans 1:17 to save his soul. From that time on, Luther insisted that you must be born again to be saved. The Catholic Church insists that you must be a member of the church before you can go to heaven. They believe that salvation is ‘by works’ and not by faith. His conversion led to the split of the Roman Catholic Church. This is how the Protectant denominations started. The Book of Romans was written by Apostle Paul. He was one of the most intelligent men who ever live on earth. He was born in Tarsus, one of the three greatest cities at that time (the other two were Athens, Greece and Alexandria, Egypt). His father sent him to Jerusalem to study under the famous Gamaliel. Paul was highly educated. He was a lawyer, a religious pharisee. He was also born a Roman citizen. That gave him many rights and privileges. The letter to the Romans simply starts with his name: ‘Paul’. Many consider this letter to be the greatest piece of human writing next to the Bible.  

NEVER BE ASHAMED OF CHRIST OR HIS GOSPEL

Here, the Gospel is defined as ‘The Gospel of Christ’. Paul is not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. All men are born sinners. The Jews and the Gentiles have rejected it. Paul was persecuted for preaching it. But Paul is not ashamed. Paul is preaching to the believers in Rome. At that time, Rome was the greatest city. But Paul is not intimidated by the rich and famous to shut up his mouth! says that he is not ashamed to believe and preach the Gospel of Christ. What does he mean by that? Paul says that he is very happy and proud to believe the Gospel of Christ! He is vocal and boasts in believing the Gospel! He is not hiding it. He is not a ‘silent believer’. He is not shy or ashamed to declare that Jesus died and rose again to save his soul! Why was Paul bold? He knew that the Gospel ‘is the power of God unto salvation’. He knows what the Gospel does! It changes hearts and lives! It may look like foolishness, but it is the raw power of the Creator God! The Gospel is always connected to the electricity of heaven! Are you ashamed to preach the Gospel? Do you keep silent when you should speak?   

Apostle Paul uses the word ‘Gospel’ 60 times in his letters. In Greek, the word ‘gospel’ is translated ‘Euangelion’ from where the word ‘evangelism’ comes. Man’s words are ‘bad news’. Only God’s Word is ‘Good news’. The Law given thru Moses is holy and good. But it is not ‘good news’ to sinners, because they can’t keep it and they cannot be saved thru it. The Gospel is the ‘Good news’ from heaven. In a nutshell, the Gospel means this: “Jesus died and rose again for me!”. This is the best Good News to any sinner! If the Gospel, the story of Jesus, does not make you excited, does not make your heart sing for joy, it means that you are not born again! The Preaching of the Gospel comes with the power to change the hearts of men. Nothing else changes a man’s heart and destiny except the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected! Have you felt the power of the Gospel? The evil spirit of religion has taken over many churches. People go to church, but they are not saved. They do not understand the Gospel. For them, it is like a foreign word. But you should know what you must preach! The power of resurrection works in you, and you preach that power, that Word that changed your life! Preach to all, old and young, religious, or non-religious! It is the same Gospel for all! What a Great Power of salvation!

THE MIRACLE OF HEALING THE CRIPPLE LEADS TO EVANGELISM

All miracles are a manifestation of God’s power! Our Lord walked on the water, He raised Lazarus… The Lord Jesus Christ has the power to save, heal and deliver! “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Ac 10:38). Read this wonderful story in Acts 3! The beggar was born crippled. Men carry him every day to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. He waits for alms. He knows that religious men going to the temple are the best people to pity him and give him some money. Religion is good for giving alms. But it has no power to change the situation. It can only give alms. The man did not expect more than alms. He was surprised that Peter and John offered him the power that comes with the Gospel. He believed! By faith in the name of Jesus, his weak ankles received the power of healing. Instantly, he could stand and praised God! This miracle done by the Lord Jesus Christ thru His disciples, was to attract the crowd. Peter did not explain the miracle. He did not call more people to receive miracles. He stood and preached the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected. That is the main purpose of miracles. It is to point people to Jesus as their Savior before He is their Healer and Provider! This is true evangelism!  

The authority of Christ Crucified and Resurrected has been entrusted to us! We use it to preach the Gospel, to heal and deliver men!

“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Lk 10:19) “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen” (Mt 28:18-20). Worship the Lord!!!

FROM PAIN TO PRAISE

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me” (2 Cor 12:8, 9).

The thorn in the flesh troubles me, weakens me, oppresses me. It is a hidden pain. I prayed that it may be removed. I thought that its removal will be my healing, my deliverance. But the Lord said:

“Leave it there. It is the attack of the enemy but I approve of it. It will dry your doubts, fail your fears and oppose your oppression. Thru it all, your spirit shall become stronger and your faith shall stand. My grace is what you need. My favor on you is the key to healing and ministry. Let the Cross do the deep work in you. The fruit is for My glory and it will surely manifest. Trust Me not only at the beginning of your walk with Me; not only for the destination. Trust Me for the journey. Every step together… The beauty of communion…We are in this together. Enjoy My presence. Relax and follow Me! Talk less and sing more! My grace and My love is all that you need… I love you, child…”


(From my diary, 2018; Malia)

THE GOSPEL IN GENESIS 3

IN THE BEGINNING GOD (11)

During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached from the Book of Genesis chapter 3. She said that Genesis chapter 3 is absolutely essential in understanding the Bible and the history of man. Here we see how sin entered humanity. For the first time, we are presented with the Gospel of Christ. If you study the history of man, there is no better explanation of why things happen the way they do, except you believe the doctrine of the fall of man and the doctrine of the original sin.

THE FALL OF MAN also called the fall of Adam, or simply the Fall, is a term used in Christianity to describe the transition of the first man and woman from a state of innocent obedience to God to a state of guilty disobedience. The doctrine of the Fall comes from a biblical interpretation of Genesis, chapters 1-3.

THE ORIGINAL SIN: The fall of man affected all humanity and even the creation. Adam broke God’s law. He sinned! He was our representative on earth. This sin has affected all humanity. All Adam’s descendants are born sinners. This first sin affected the whole man, body, mind, emotions and will. It corrupted man. Thru sin, sickness and death entered humanity. Sin reveals itself in the mind mostly as unbelief; as fear and in as pride! “As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:10, 23).

THE GOSPEL IN GENESIS 3

“And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin and clothed them. Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life” (Gen 3:20-24).

Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. That includes the Book of Genesis! In Genesis chapter 3 we witness the greatest tragedy and the greatest hope of mankind! It is a wonderful chapter! The Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected is introduced here. The Gospel means Good News from heaven! God the Father sent His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to take man’s sin and die on behalf of man! This is the word of pure Grace! The Gospel tells us what God what has done, not what we have done to save ourselves! As Adam and Eve could not cover themselves with leaves, so man cannot cover his sin. The only way to save man is thru faith in Christ Crucified! We are saved by Faith alone, by Grace alone, by the Word of God alone, thru Christ alone, and to the glory of God alone! That is why no man can boast of his salvation! Glory to God!

The chapter starts with sorrow and ends with hope and joy! This is the power of the Gospel!  Many people, even some Christians, reject the story in Genesis 1-3. They say that Adam was not a real man but a symbol. The word ‘Adam’ means ‘man’. It appears 27 times in the Bible. The truth is that Adam and Eve were real people! This is their story! They lived about six thousand years ago. The Word of God says that our Lord Jesus is the direct descendant of Adam, called the son of God! “Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph … the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God” (Lk 3:23, 38).  Job confirms the curse upon Adam! He assumes that Adam sinned in his heart because he wanted to please Eve and was afraid to displease her.  “If I have covered my transgressions as Adam, By hiding my iniquity in my bosom, Because I feared the great multitude, And dreaded the contempt of families, So that I kept silence…  Then let thistles grow instead of wheat, And weeds instead of barley.” The words of Job are ended” (Job 31:33, 34, 40).   

What do we see in Genesis 3? God displays His Love and Grace! He makes a way for man to be saved! God acts and man reacts!!!

*GOD ACTS IMMEDIATELY/ GOD’S LOVE IN ACTION! SALVATION WAS PLANNED AND PREORDAINED!

Immediately the fall happens, God displays His plan of salvation prepared before the foundation of the world. “Known to God from eternity are all His works” (Acts 15:18). This is because God is God of salvation! God is a Redeemer! This is His character! This is the Gospel! This is the proof that salvation was planned by God the Father before the foundation of the world. God knew that satan will temp man and he will fall. Even before the foundation of the world, God the Son has agreed to die for the fallen man. “All who dwell on the earth will worship him (the Dragon and the Beast), whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8). Here you see God’s Love in action! “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). God reveals His hatred against sin and love towards sinners. God demonstrates (proves, manifests, exhibits in public) HIS OWN LOVE towards men. This sacrificial love in Christ conquers death and all curses! “Put me like a seal on your heart, Like a seal on your arm; For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe and cruel as Sheol (the place of the dead). Its flashes are flashes of fire, [A most vehement flame] the very flame of the LORD!” (SS 8:6; AMP)

*GOD PROVIDES ATONMENT FOR THE SALVATION OF SINFUL MAN

Salvation requires atonement. This is a basic doctrine in the Christian faith. In Hebrew, the word ‘atonement’ means ‘co cover’. Atonement refers to the needed reconciliation between sinful mankind and the holy God. Sin is separation between an offended God and religious man. This reconciliation is possible only through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Man sinned! Jesus, the innocent Holy Lamb of God dies as a substitution for man’s sin. Justification by faith is possible only because of this atonement provided by the Holy God. Jesus Christ on the cross absorbs the wrath of God. Salvation is a transaction between the Father and the Son. The father pours out his anger towards sin on Christ, and his wrath is satisfied. This is how Christ is our ‘propitiation’. “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness” (Rom 3:21-25). There is need for sacrifice! Blood must be shed! God’s law says: “Without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb 9:22).

In the Garden, God manifests His Grace by killing the lamb and covers the guilty pair with bloody skins. The same God who was offended is the One who provides the sacrifice! Initially they were naked but knew no shame. Now they were ashamed. They feel sexual lust and shame now. God covers their guilt and shame of sin with the bloody skins of the sacrificial lamb. God covers them physically and spiritually with the Blood of His Son. God did not use the wool of the Lamb but its skin. It means that the Lamb died. The Lamb is the innocent substitute! God choose the animal, and God killed the animal. God is the Priest and the Sacrifice! God is the first Killer and the First Savior! This is a wonderful picture of our Lord! This is the first death in the world! Abel had faith and did the same. Cain despised this act of God! Noah, Job, Moses etc all offered animals to God! All the sacrifices in the Old Testament start from here. God is angry when His people did not offer Him bloody sacrifice, or they are offered them to idols. God provides the sacrifice to replace Isaac (Gen 22)! Oh, the power of the Gospel!

*GOD PREVENTS MAN TO GO TO HELL! SALVATION IS SURE AND ETERNAL!

Even after the fall, for some time, Adam and Eve lived in the Garden. God restrains them so that they should not be tempted the second time by the devil and eat from the fruit of the Tree of life! God does not want them to eat from the tree of life. Because they will be eternally evil. They will be in hell forever! This is because now they know the reality of death. The carcass of the lamb is there before their eyes. God provides atonement and God protects them from further falling! Cherubim, guards the gate to the Garden. This is the first time we see angels! The driving out of Adam and Eve from the Garden is for their protection and hope. Rejection from the paradise is another manifestation of Grace! The gate is covered by the cherubim with the flaming sword. It was on the East of the Garden. Cherubim guard the throne and the holiness of God! It means that Paradise was to the West. Every sunset was a reminder of a gate shut! They cannot go back to the Garden. Adam and Eve are naked. This nakedness is corrupted. They experience fear, shame, and sexual lust (impurity). This is the price for ‘being like God’. Nobody else saw them. They were embarrassed in front of God. God covered them with the skin. This is an act of mercy! The doctrine of atonement! “We are clothed with Christ!” (Gal 3:27). God expelled them. To protect them from hell. Adam lost peace to find the Prince of Peace! Adam lost joy to find true Joy!  They have hope for heaven!!!! Hope is the anchor for the soul. They are anchored in heaven (Heb 6:19).  There is hope for Adam’s descendants! About our Lord it is said: “You are the most handsome of Adam’s descendants; grace has anointed your lips; therefore, God has blessed you forever” (Ps 45:2; ISV). “Your mercy is so precious, O God, that Adam’s descendants take refuge in the shadow of your wings” (Ps 36:7, God’s Word Translation). “Let them give thanks to the LORD because of his mercy. He performed his miracles for Adam’s descendants” (Ps 107:8; GWT)

*ADAM AND EVE REPENT OF THEIR SIN AND NOW HAVE FAITH IN GOD

Faith is believing the truth, the Word of God! When they were created, Adam and Eve believed what God said to them. Later, Satan came with lies; he said that God is a liar! Eve was deceived and believed the lie. Adam rebelled and believed the lie too. Their faith in God was destroyed.

But now, something happens! After they were sent away from the Garden, their attitude towards God and satan dramatically changed! They now know that satan lied; that he deceived them. Their sufferings forced them to run back to God! They now believe God’s Word. There is pain for the woman, in her relationships with her husband and children. The man has pain in the work of his hands. But God’s Grace is working! Faith comes into their hearts thru the pain of the curse!!!! Adam repents of his rebellion and now he sees that Eve will be the mother of all living! Eve means LIFE! Her seed will one day crush the head of the devil who decided them! This is his faith now! This is his hope! Even Eve now believes! She too has a new living hope! They were looking forward towards the Cross where Christ will die for their sins! This is amazing! All unbelievers are born to believe Satan’s lies. After God send them out from the Garden, they started feeling sick and weak. Immediately they repented. They now trusted God. Adam named her Eve (Life). She accepts her name from her husband. From now on she will be the Mother of all Living! By this act, Adam, now takes back his position of leadership, as her husband and pastor! Adam believes that the promise of fruitfulness and dominion was not destroyed by the fall. Adam knew that Eve will be a mother. They also knew now that her seed will destroy satan! By calling his wife ‘mother of living’ Adam confirmed God’s curse upon satan. He has hope that one day, the paradise lost will be restored. Eve means life! Adam has faith that his wife will be a mother. This is a prophetic statement. At that time Eve had no child. This is a proof that Adam has repented and goes to God’s side! Adam believed the salvation God has promised! I am paraphrasing Adam: “I believe You God! You always speak the truth! I believe that my wife’s son will destroy the devil who has led us into sin! I believe that God always wins!” Adam’s faith becomes his testimony that he is now saved! “Now faith is the substance (assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Heb 11:1-3). God is pleased with and always approved the men who trusted in Him! Adam is the first man of faith, the first man of God! Adam and Eve now hate satan! Their eyes are open to see the height from which they have fallen! As Eve will experience pain in labor, so also Faith is born thru pain! There is fear, sadness, regret, and shame. But against all odds, Faith is born in this sinner’s heart! This is the work of Grace! Adam and Eve choose to believe God now! By faith, they rebel against their new master, satan!

*ADAM HAS HOPE OF SALVATION

God told Adam that if he disobeys, he will die ‘that same day’ (Gen 2:17). You may say that Adam did not die that day! But according to God’s ‘eternal calendar’, “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet 3:8). Adam lived 93o years. That means he died ‘that came day’. Never try to understand God using your human mind. God is always right! Adam lived a long and hard life of toil. Eve became a mother of many. For her too, it was hard. She saw her first son killing his brother. Later, their descendants will be killed by the flood. Only 8 were saved. Even so, Adam and Eve lived in hope! Why did God wanted Adam to live in hope? Because Hope is the best detergent to wash away the stain of sin! “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 Jn 3:2, 3). Hope purifies the heart! As you believe in the second coming of Christ, because of hope, you will repent of all sin, to become like Jesus who you will meet one day! Hope changes us and our character. It surely changed Adam and Eve! Their shame was washed away by the ‘soap’ of hope of glory!  “We glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom 5:3-5). The chapter that started with the greatest tragedy in the world, ends with the greatest Grace and Hope! God loves to save sinners! May we never lose our wonder!!!

Come to Jesus! If God saved Adam and Eve, He will save you too!!

*GOD IS OUR ONLY SAVIOR

God, by nature is a Savior. He saves people from sin and from the consequences of sin. There is no other ‘god’ or religion that claims to save sinners by Grace. In Genesis 3 God reveals Himself as God the Savior. He also reveals Himself as a God of mercy and grace!

God the Father announces that He will save the scattered sheep of His Flock! “For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day” (Ez 34:11,12)!!!!! Apostle Paul says: “when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Tit3:4-7).  God the Father planed salvation. God the Son executed the plan! “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Lk 19:10)

*GOD SAVES US FOREVER! GOD IS OUR SAVIOR AND OUR KEEPER!

We are sealed for heaven! The doctrine of the eternal security of the believer! Grace saves you and Grace keeps you! This is the Gospel we believe and preach! God is able to save you and to keep you till you arrive in heaven! “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling (falling), And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen” (Jude 1:24, 25). “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). To God be all the glory! Worship the Lord!

GOD’S CURSE UPON MAN

IN THE BEGINNING GOD (10) GOD’S CURSE UPON THE MAN

During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached from the Book of Genesis chapter 3. She said that Genesis chapter 3 is absolutely essential in understanding the Bible and the history of man. Here we see how sin entered humanity. For the first time, we are presented with the Gospel of Christ. If you study the history of man, there is no better explanation of why things happen the way they do, except you believe the doctrine of the fall of man and the doctrine of the original sin.

THE FALL OF MAN also called the fall of Adam, or simply the Fall, is a term used in Christianity to describe the transition of the first man and woman from a state of innocent obedience to God to a state of guilty disobedience. The doctrine of the Fall comes from a biblical interpretation of Genesis, chapters 1-3. God created Adam and Eve perfect. They were innocent concerning sin. But God allowed their free will to manifest. Obedience meant life. Disobedience to God’s command meant death.  God gave Adam a covenant of works. He broke the covenant. God then sent His Son Jesus Christ with a covenant of Grace. We believe Jesus Christ, that He died for us. Grace means unmerited favor. If Adam, as perfect as he was could not keep the covenant of works, God knew that we cannot keep it. That is why Grace is introduced thru Christ. That is why salvation in Christ cannot fail. We are saved by Grace, thru faith in Jesus Christ, in His death on the Cross. Salvation in Christ is eternal!

THE ORIGINAL SIN: The fall of man affected all humanity and even the creation. Adam broke God’s law. He sinned! He was our representative on earth. This sin has affected all humanity. All Adam’s descendants are born sinners. The nature of the first sin: man refused to submit himself to the will of God, to have God decide the course of his life. He wanted to be independent from God. Devil’s pride entered man. Pride means to remove God from the center of man’s heart and replace Him with self. This first sin affected the whole man, body, mind, emotions and will. It corrupted man. Thru sin, sickness and death entered humanity. Sin reveals itself in the mind mostly as unbelief; in the emotions as fear and in his will as pride! “As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:10, 23).

GOD’S CURSE UPON THE MAN

“Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; For dust you are, and to dust you shall return” (Gen 3:17-19)

The first thing we mention is that God’s curse upon the serpent (physical and spiritual) is eternal. There is no redemption for the devil. The curse on both the woman and the man is temporary. In Christ, these curses are broken. Amen!

We see that the curse is not directly on Adam. This is because God has already blessed him. The curse is on the ground and on the work of his hands. The ground does not feel pain. But Adam feels the pain because his work is harder now. In the Garden, his work was a pleasure. But now, work is ‘a toil’. The pain is in the man’s relationship with the ground, with his work. His life will not be easy. When man fell, death entered not only into mankind but in the whole creation. Animals, plants, and microbes, all die now. Even the earth itself, and all the planets are dying. Death is the consequence of sin. The curses on the serpent, on the woman and on the man affected the universe. The curse on the woman affected her home. The curse on the man affected the work of his hands. For a man, his business is his world. The earth now brings forth food but with great effort!

The first time to concept of ‘evil’ appears is in chapter 2. God commanded Adam: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen 2:15-17). The word ‘evil’ means something bad, wicked, and ugly; something that hurts and produces pain and sorrow. This command was a warning that in the beautiful Garden, there is some evil. It was Adam’s duty to ask God the meaning of ‘evil’, especially as it relates to death. This is a lesson for all of us: Study the Word of God in detail, with prayer, for the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Study not only the promises that you like. Study the whole Bible, including the painful scriptures, like the curses and warnings! That is wisdom for life!  

The cause of the curse: Because Adam ‘listened’ to the voice of his wife and disobeyed God’s command! This curse is his punishment! Adam was not deceived or confused by satan or by his wife (1 Tim 2:14). Adam listened and chose to obey the voice of Eve instead of the voice of God. They both knew what God has said. Adam chooses to please his wife. He allowed her to take leadership in the family. He gave up his responsibility as the leader and the pastor of the home. That was his sin! The act of eating the fruit is a simple act. They both ate fruits in the garden. Adam’s sin was that he allowed Eve to take the place of God in his life! Adam lived 930 years (Gen 5:5). The curse on the work of Adam’s hands lasted all his life! It was a long and hard life!

Now, man has to ‘toil’ for his daily bread. ‘Toil’ means misery, frustration. The word ‘frustration’ means being angry, impatient, or less confident because you cannot achieve what you want; you cannot control or change your circumstances. Frustration is often accompanied by anxiety or depression, resulting from unfulfilled dreams or unresolved problems.  This toil does not only apply to the work of farmers. All men suffer in their businesses. Man is a slave to his work. Man hates his work, but he must still do it. The more children he has, the harder he must work to provide for them. His work does not bring him satisfaction. Even in the night man worries about his work. Many men dream of a time when they stop working. It is only in Christ that the curse upon man and his work is broken. Outside Christ, work is vanity upon vanity! To rejoice in the work of your hands, in your marriage and children is a miracle. It is a gift from God!

This is a lesson for all of us! No human should draw you into sin! Be careful with ‘little sins.’ They all kill! Sin killed Jesus! Pleasing man is rebellion. You cannot be a servant of Christ if you please man! Apostle Paul said: “Am I now trying to win the favor and approval of men, or of God? Or am I seeking to please someone? If I were still trying to be popular with men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ” (Gal 1:10; AMP).

Our Lord Jesus Christ places hard conditions on discipleship. No family love should compete with the love of God! “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Lk 14:26). To hate it means to love less. A disciple is a student. The Holy Spirit cannot teach you how to love and obey Jesus except He is your priority in life!   

WORK IS VANITY (Ecclesiastics)

King Solomon was one of the wealthiest men who ever lived. He discovered that work is not a pleasure. It is hard to make money. Work is a ‘toil’. This is what he said: “Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind. Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun. For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet he must leave his heritage to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity” (Ecc 2:17-23)

During so much pain and sorrow, the grace of God shines forth. God has promised to bless man with health and wealth. This is the work of Grace alone! If God has blessed you with health and wealth, be grateful to God! “Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God” (Ecc 5:18, 19; NLT).

Man works and works just to eat and take care of his family. He is tired at the end of the day. It is hard to make savings. There is a constant anxiety about providing food on the table. This hard work and anxiety are reminders of the power of sin and the need for a Savior! The earth produces thorns and thistles. Without labor the ground does not produce good fruits. In the Garden were plants and trees but not thorns and thistles. Adam did not need to plant to eat. The vegetation was planted by God. He only needed to take care of them. This is the consequence of the curse: man will eat but he will sweat to put food on the table. In other words, you sweat as you seat at the table! This is man’s life until death. Man cannot retire from this labor. Every day is the same. It is tiresome and boring work. Most people are not sure of their next meal. They do not have time for fashion or vacations. But they must work so that they can eat!

POVERTY IN THE WORLD

This information is found it on the internet! This is the Profit Potential for planting wheat in the US: To rent land for farming: $40/acre. Tillage (preparation of land), Seed and planting, pesticide, fertilizer, harvest and hauling, total $225. Price to sell it is about $255. Therefore, the Net profit is about $30/ per acre.  The Average spending on food: the average American household spent about 10% of its total budget on food. This is the lowest percentage in the world. It is about $550. Other countries expenditure for food: South Africa 20%; Saudi Arabia 25%; India and Russia 30%; Pakistan 40%; Cameroon 45%; Nigeria 56%. High spending on food and malnutrition seem to go hand in hand. Many people starve all over the world. Most people spend all their money on food alone. Out of the eight billion people on the planet, a striking one billion are living in extreme poverty. They live on less than $1.25 a day. They do not have safe drinking water, sanitation, education, shelter.  Small farmers, animal herders, and fishermen produce about 70 percent of the global food supply, yet they are especially vulnerable to food insecurity. Poverty and hunger are most acute among rural populations. Undernourishment causes 45% of all children’s deaths. Each year, 3.1 million children die from hunger-related causes, which include diarrhea and malnutrition. Every 10 seconds a child dies from hunger. As a result of hunger, children experience poor health, low energy levels, and reductions in mental functioning due to hunger. Sub-Saharan Africa is still the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment, estimated at 22% of the population. This is expected to increase to 30% by 2030. The Caribbean also has a high rate — 16.6% of its population. Compare this to North America and Europe, where less than 2.5% of people are malnourished.  Covid 19 pandemic has worsened poverty. These figures are painful to read. Thank God that you are alive and well! It is the Grace of God!

SPIRITUAL CAUSES OF POVERTY

*Disobedience to God’s Word! (Read Deuteronomy 28)

*Sexual lust! “For by means of a harlot A man is reduced to a crust of bread; And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life” (PV 6:26)

9 “If my heart has been enticed by a woman… 11 For that would have been wicked, a sin to be judged. 12 It is a fire that burns to Destruction; it would have uprooted my harvest” (Job 31:9-12; NIV)

*Laziness and Idleness (being a busybody)!

30 I went by the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; 31 And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; Its surface was covered with nettles; Its stone wall was broken down. 32 When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction: 33 A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest; 34 So shall your poverty come like a prowler, And your need like an armed man” (PV 24:30-34)

WE ARE COMMANDED TO AVOID LAZY AND IRRESPONSIBLE PEOPLE (2 Thess 3;6-12; 1 Tim 5:8)

IN CHRIST THE CURSE IS BROKEN! WORK BECOMES MINISTRY

The earth is rich with treasures, but it takes hard work to bring them out. When sin came, sickness, confusion, fear, and death came. The first sin came thru three persons: The serpent, Adam, and Eve. God cursed the three. The curse on the serpent (on the devil is eternal). The curse on the man and a woman is temporary. These curses are removed only thru Christ and in Christ. “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”) (Gal 3:13)

*God blessed the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job etc) with spiritual and material blessings! For example: “Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. The man began to prosper and continued prospering until he became very prosperous; for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants. So, the Philistines envied him. Now the Philistines had stopped up all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, and they had filled them with earth. And Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go away from us, for you are much mightier than we” (Gen 26:12-16)

*There is a prophetic blessing upon Joseph. The blessing is upon the ground. It is a blessing of increase and fruitfulness. This is an example of a blessed earth, a type of The Promised Land! “And of Joseph he said: “Blessed of the Lord is his land, With the precious things of heaven, with the dew, And the deep lying beneath,  With the precious fruits of the sun, With the precious produce of the months, With the best things of the ancient mountains, With the precious things of the everlasting hills, With the precious things of the earth and its fullness, And the favor of Him who dwelt in the bush. Let the blessing come ‘on the head of Joseph, (Deut 33:13-16)

*In Proverbs 31 we see a family free from the curse on men and women

We find the picture of a godly woman and her redeemed family. She is spiritually mature, a champion and an inspiration to her family. Her husband ‘praises her’. In Hebrew, the word ‘praise’ means ‘to shine a light’. This man knows his wife better than others. He is not intimidated by her strength and success. He encourages her to shine by adding his own ‘shine’ to hers.  ‘Many daughters have done well’. In Hebrew the word ‘done well’ means to bring home wealth and strength. She is seen as the captain of a victorious army who defeats the enemy bringing home the spoils of war. She is excelling as a helpmeet to her husband. Thru faith in the Redeemer, this woman has destroyed the curse of God upon her. She knows that there is a curse upon her husband’s work. She helps him break the curse on his work. She is not lazy. She does not complain about her husband. She is grateful for her husband and encourages him in his business. She helps with the expenses thru her own successful business. She is spiritual and hardworking! She desires that her whole household should be saved! This is a wonderful testimony!

*Aquila andPriscilla were a first century Christian missionary married couple. They were tent makers. They lived, worked, and traveled with the Apostle Paul, who highly commended them. “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house” (Rom 16:3-5) Christianity is radical in the view of women, marriages and work. Priscilla is not seen as Aquila’s property but his co-laborer in ministry and work.  Tradition reports that Aquila and Priscilla were martyred together.   

*Finally, let me add that God instituted the Tithe to break the curse upon man’s labor (Mal 3:8-12)

How do you know that God’s curse upon the work of your hands is broken? You need to be born again and Spirit filled! Pray for freedom from the curse! This blessed freedom is manifested as a blessing in your office, in your business. There shall be a different atmosphere in your business, in your shop. You will not be ashamed to tell people that you are a believer. You do not need to commit sin to make profit. You do not need to bribe or cheat to make profit. The country may suffer from economic downfall, but God will provide for you amid poverty. God will make an exception for you! This is a supernatural blessing. Your relationships with your colleagues and workers will improve. People will come close to you to learn how did you prosper, what is your secret? People will want to work for you free of charge just ‘to tap’ from your anointing. This type of financial blessing is not because you work harder than others or are more educated. It is the Grace of God working in you, as the curse in Christ is broken. Many people get divorced these days. Money is the main source of conflict in marriages. Most people who are too poor or are too wealthy end up in divorce. But the blessings of God on you will bring not only health, wealth but also, peace and joy in your homes! This is the Grace of God! Never underestimate the Grace of God! Grace is King! To the glory of God! Worship the Lord!     

DIVINE SKILL

DIVINE SKILL – AN ESSENTIAL QUALITY OF SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP

One of the main attributes of a (spiritual and natural) leader is to be skillful at his work. Skill is defined as the ability to use your technical knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance. Skill requires training and experience. Other synonyms for being skillful are to be competent, practical, wise, smart, professional, or accomplished. The opposite of being skillful it means to be incompetent, incapable, ignorant, foolish, or inefficient. Proud men are never skillful. Humble people receive the gift and the grace to become skillful. Some people have life skills (the wisdom to live well, become prosperous, and avoid mistakes). Others have social skills (the ability to live successfully among people and to bring the best in them). To be skillful it means that you are an expert at something, a master, a teacher, and a mentor. Skill is a gift from God. To be skillful it means that you are good at doing something because you are practicing your gift. The leader needs to use and develop this gift. He needs to master his gift. He needs to mentor and teach others how to use their gifts. Pity the man who becomes a leader and has no skill to lead. He will end with frustration, depression and rejection!Bezalel and King David are two examples of skillful men, spiritually and practically.

*Bezalel was skillful in the artwork required to make the furniture and tools for the temple. God gave him the gift. Thru prayer, hard work and diligence he became one of the holy men who God used to beautify His house! “Moses said to the children of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship. “And He has put in his heart the ability to teach, in him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver—those who do every work and those who design artistic works” (Ex 35:30-35)

*David was a true leader. He was a worshipper and a warrior. He was skillful at what he was doing. Men trusted him and gladly followed him! ”David shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart; And guided them with his skillful hands” (Ps 78:72)

*God rewards skillful labor, as it is done for His glory! You need to be baptized with the Holy Spirit to receive the skill to work or to lead!

“Do you see a man skillful and experienced in his work? He will stand [in honor] before kings; He will not stand before obscure (unknown) men… If you do your job well, you will work for a ruler and never be a slave… Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank… Do you see any truly competent workers? They will serve kings rather than working for ordinary people” (PV 22:29; AMP; CEV; NIV; NLT)

*As a teacher of God’s Word, work hard at improving your knowledge and your skill to communicate it. Seek God’s approval, and divine skill! “Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15; AMP).

God bless you all!

GOD’S CURSE UPON THE WOMAN

IN THE BEGINNING GOD (9) GOD’S CURSE UPON THE WOMAN

During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached from the Book of Genesis chapter 3. She said that Genesis chapter 3 is absolutely essential in understanding the Bible and the history of man. Here we see how sin entered humanity. For the first time, we are presented with the Gospel of Christ. If you study the history of man, there is no better explanation of why things happen the way they do, except you believe the doctrine of the fall of man and the doctrine of the original sin.

THE FALL OF MAN also called the fall of Adam, or simply the Fall, is a term used in Christianity to describe the transition of the first man and woman from a state of innocent obedience to God to a state of guilty disobedience. The doctrine of the Fall comes from a biblical interpretation of Genesis, chapters 1-3. God created Adam and Eve perfect. They were innocent concerning sin. But God allowed their free will to manifest. Obedience meant life. Disobedience to God’s command meant death.  God gave Adam a covenant of works. He broke the covenant. God then sent His Son Jesus Christ with a covenant of Grace. We believe Jesus Christ, that He died for us. Grace means unmerited favor. If Adam, as perfect as he was could not keep the covenant of works, God knew that we cannot keep it. That is why Grace is introduced thru Christ. That is why salvation in Christ cannot fail. We are saved by Grace, thru faith in Jesus Christ, in His death on the Cross. Salvation in Christ is eternal!

THE ORIGINAL SIN: The fall of man affected all humanity and even the creation. Adam broke God’s law. He sinned! He was our representative on earth. This sin has affected all humanity. All Adam’s descendants are born sinners. The nature of the first sin: man refused to submit himself to the will of God, to have God decide the course of his life. He wanted to be independent from God. Devil’s pride entered man. Pride means to remove God from the center of man’s heart and replace Him with self. This first sin affected the whole man, body, mind, emotions and will. It corrupted man. Thru sin, sickness and death entered humanity. Sin reveals itself in the mind mostly as unbelief; in the emotions as fear and in his will as pride! “As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:10, 23).

THE DIVINE CURSE UPON THE WOMAN

After the curse placed on the serpent and Satan, God addresses Eve next, saying: “To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Gen 3:16). This curse is not as severe as the one placed on the devil. Initially, God has blessed Adam and Eve (Gen 1:28). Therefore, He does not curse them directly. But God punishes them for their sin. The curse on Adam and Eve affects their lives in this world, their descendants and their labor. This curse is milder than the one placed on the serpent. God’s curse on the devil is eternal but the curse on mankind is temporal. It is a curse that can be broken thru Christ! “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28)

In the history of mankind, most women have been exploited, abused and neglected. The Jews treated the women as secondhand citizens. A woman was seen as inferior to men. A woman belongs to her father, and after marriage, to her husband. The men rule over the women.  Jewish men, at the beginning of the daily morning prayers, say: “Blessed are you, Lord, our God, ruler of the universe who has not created me to be a slave, a pagan or a woman.” Over the centuries, women were denied their rights. For example, a woman could not get an education, could not buy property, could not vote, and could not do business with a man (even if he was her father, brother, husband or son). Married women could not exercise control over their children without the approval of their husbands. A woman’s work was seen to be at home, to take care of her husbands and children. Most universities and professions did not allow women to participate. All over the world, the women endured discrimination. The first time a woman raised her voice in public against this discrimination was in the 14th century. A French woman called Christine de Pisan wrote books challenging the system and asked that women should be allowed to get an education. Men tried to quench her voice saying that women are born foolish and superficial. The men became afraid that if women get an education, they will fight back. This is how the phenomenon called ‘feminism’ was born. This is not a Biblical movement. It is born as a natural reaction against oppression.

These are few examples of women who fought for their rights and opened the way for others:

*Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) became the first woman in the United States to be granted an MD degree and to become a medical doctor. She was rejected from all the medical schools. The only school who accepted her was the medical school of New York where the men students voted that she should come. She was the only female student in the class to the end of her course. She never married and had no children.    

* Edith Clarke (1883 – 1959) was the first woman to be professionally employed as an electrical engineer in the United States, and the first female professor of electrical engineering in the country.

*Arabella Babb Mansfield (1846 – 1911), was the first female lawyer in the United States.

*Valentina Tereshkova (1937- ) is the first and youngest woman to have flown in space with a solo mission in 1963. She orbited the Earth 48 times, spent almost three days in space, and remains the only woman to have been on a solo space mission.

* Amelia Mary Earhart (1897 – 1937) was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set many other records and wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences.

* Chinyere Kalu, MFR (née Onyenucheya) is the first Nigerian female commercial pilot and the first woman to fly an aircraft in Nigeria. She served as the rector and chief instructor of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria (2011 – 2014)

*Dr. Elizabeth Abimbola Awoliyi (née Akerele, 1910 – 1971) graduated from Dublin, Ireland, medical school in 1951 with first class honors. She became a specialist in gynecology and obstetrics.  She was the first woman to practice as a physician in Nigeria.

* Joana Maduka (1941- ) is the first female Nigerian engineer. She became the first female fellow of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria in 1974.

*Mrs Stella Marke Thomas was the first lawyer in West Africa and Nigeria. She was called to the bar in 1933. She was the first female magistrate to sit on the bench in Nigeria. Stella was born in Lagos in 1906. Her father, Peter J. Thomas was a wealthy businessman of Sierra Leonean descent, he was the first African to be president of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce (1923-1930). He supported his daughter’s desire to further her education. He said: “if you educate a man you are educating an individual, if you educate a woman it means you are educating a family”

Because Eve disobeyed God’s command and sinned, God placed this particular curse upon her. It affects all her natural daughters. One thing is sure: The lives of women all over the world is generally hard. Men rule over women and misuse women as servants. Most women work outside the home and also work in the kitchen, in the homes, taking care of the children, and satisfying their husbands sexually. Most men are harsh and ungrateful towards women. They do not try to understand their wives, to help them or pity them when they work hard. Most men take their wives for granted. This is the general pattern all over the world, in the homes of unbelievers. It is only in Christ, in the homes of believers, because the curse is lifted, the hearts and attitude of the people change.

Because of Adam’ sin, all humanity is affected by sickness and problems. Both men and women suffer in many ways. But for the women, life is particularly hard. Because of the curse, there are two areas that women are suffering in particular: Their relationship with their husbands and their children. Life at home for women is harder. Women dream of romance and love, in their marriages and their families. But they are soon disappointed by the reality. They discover that both husbands and children are sinners. They are selfish and demand much of their energy and time. It is not that the women find no joy at all in their homes. But physically and emotionally, it is harder for the women. Because they have higher expectations of happiness in their relationships, they get frustrated easier. They are more disappointed than the men when the marriage fails, or the children suffer. This is all part of the curse of God upon the women.

One of the highest joys for a woman is to be pregnant and have a child! Every woman desire to be a mother. But pregnancy is a difficult time for every woman. There are many problems associated with pregnancy. Men do not understand the physical and emotional stress that each pregnancy demands. Pregnancy changes the body of a woman. The mind thinks differently. This is an added stress. Doctors know that each time a woman gets pregnant, there is a high chance that she can die, during the pregnancy, labor or postpartum. The rate of death is higher in the third world countries where the medical care is not always available.

(According to WHO, in 2015, Nigeria’s estimated maternal mortality ratio was over 800 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births. In fact, a Nigerian woman has a 1 in 22 lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy, childbirth or postpartum/post-abortion, whereas in the most developed countries, the lifetime risk is 1 in 4900).

Women shed tears more than men. A woman carries her baby (or babies) in her womb for nine months. Then she delivers the baby who is born a sinner: selfish, stubborn and lazy. Even if she is a believer, her children are born unbelievers! Much work is expected from the mother to nurture and train a child in the way of the Lord! Her heart never rests because of her children. She wants to protect the child from sickness, accidents and problems. She wants them to be successful in life. She has her own dreams for their future. In the past, the women could not space their children. They had many children, and many died. A woman wept many times for her lost children. That includes miscarriages too. The mothers need to look for food for her small children. This desire to nurture and protect and provide for their small children is stronger in women than in men. Some men are angry if their wives have only baby girls. That is an added stress to the mothers. Women have been raped and conceived children. That is extreme mental anguish men do not understand. Some children are born with congenital malformations who are not expected to live long. Again, women weep. Then there is postpartum depression. The woman fears for her baby, protected in her womb for nine months, is now exposed to the outside hostile environment! Fear, anxiety and depression can come. Women’ bond with their children is stronger than the men’s! They are lonely in this their bond.  Remember that Simeon told Mary: ‘a sword will pierce your heart’ (Lk 2:35)

The original design was that women should be happy and safe to be wives and mothers. Paradise was in their homes too. After the curse, the woman feels the danger, the fear and the pain especially in her home, the place she loves the most. The hardest is for a woman who is saved, married to a sinner and giving birth to little sinners! She needs the grace of God more than others. That is why we are commanded not to marry unbelievers! Unequal yoking in marriage is a source of great pains, especially for the women married to unbelievers.  Let us remember the original deign before Adam’s fall. “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that [h]moves on the earth.” And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So, the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Gen 1:26-31). God created mankind in His own image. Men and women were to be like Jesus. They will have babies who will grow like Baby Jesus, ‘in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man’ (Lk 2:52). Try to imagine God’s original design for families! Marriages were designed by God to be happy. Families were created to be joyful. There was no sin, sickness, sorrow or death. God provided food and care for them. They had fellowship with God individually and as families. For men, women and children, life was a paradise. See how sin destroyed all that beauty and happiness in the homes!

WHAT CAN BE DONE? BREAK THE CURSE! HOW? IN CHRIST ALONE!

In Christ, the curse upon the women is broken. There is no other religion, philosophy or science that can free women from God’s curse in Genesis 3. This freedom is found in Christ alone! Our Lord became a curse so that the women can be free from the guilt and power of sin. “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal 3:13, 14). Salvation is free because Christ paid it all. But deliverance from the curse is not automatic. You need to apply the Word of God to your life and marriage. There is work to do. God has done His part. By faith and patience, the women need to do theirs. For any woman to have a testimony of freedom from the curse placed in Genesis 3, that is a great achievement giving glory to God! 

In Proverbs 31 we find the picture of a godly woman and her redeemed family. “Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates” (PV 31:28-31).

Here you see a godly woman, wife, and mother. She is spiritually mature. She is a champion and an inspiration to her husband and children. Her husband ‘praises her’. In Hebrew, the word ‘praise’ means to shine a light. This man knows his wife better than others. He is not intimidated by her strength and success. He encourages her to shine by adding his own ‘shine’ to hers.  ‘Many daughters have done well’. In Hebrew the word ‘done well’ means to bring home wealth and strength. She is seen as the captain of a victorious army who defeats the enemy and brings home the spoils of war. She is excelling as a helpmeet to her husband. Thru faith in the Redeemer, this woman has destroyed the curse of God upon her. This godly woman knows that there is a curse upon the work men do. She helps her husband thru her business not just to make money but to help him break the curse upon him as a man. She desires that her whole household should be saved!

One woman of God in a home is a light in the darkness. God uses her to spread the knowledge of God in the home. Apostle Paul’ advice to the married woman is to be faithful and dedicated to God. In this way, God may extend His mercy and grace to the rest members of her household. “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise, your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.” (1 Cor 7:14). This is a great responsibility given to the one who is saved in a family of unbelievers. One child of God can do much good, to the glory of God! “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Ac 16:31).

God uses older spiritual women to be teachers and mentors to the younger women, in redeeming their marriages and homes. “The older women, likewise, (should) be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed” (Tit 2:3-5). This is God’s Word and command: Older believing women should teach and train the younger women how to be good wives and mothers. They will teach them how to love their husbands and their children. This is the truth: It is hard to love. It is a sacrifice offered to God! As sinners, we only love ourselves. It takes the work of the Holy Spirit to change the hearts of women, to become godly wives and mothers. The older women, who have suffered and learned to depend on the grace of God alone, are the best teachers to train the younger women. They do this work better than any man can do. Blessed are you, young woman, if there are older godly women who speak into your life! Your marriage and family will benefit much from this spiritual covering!   

Trusting in outward gifts (good manners and physical beauty) are deceptive and often dangerous because they are transitory. A beautiful woman with nice manners but with an ungodly heart is seducing and dangerous. True beauty that lasts and is appreciated by God and man is always spiritual. It is hidden. It is not seen by carnal eyes. This is a spiritual principle: “God looks at the heart”. “The LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7). When a man marries a woman just for her nice manners and physical beauty, he has been deceived by the same devil who deceived Eve long ago. This is a warning for all single men who desire to marry.  A woman who desires the praises of God coming thru her husband’s lips, that is a wise woman. Our Lord said that the Pharisees “loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (Jn 12:43). Religious ungodly people love to be seen, flattered, admired, recommended, and rewarded by men. This is their reward. They do not care much about pleasing God. When you see a godly husband appreciating and honoring his wife in public, when you see children praising their mother among their friends, that home has been redeemed by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! Glory!

Many women became ‘career women’ because they saw only pain and disappointment in the homes. The demons teach many women that the best way in life is not to marry. Many women are single mothers by choice. This is a snare. “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry…” (1 Tim 4:1-3). What shall women do? They should desire marriage and children. They need to trust God and reverse the curse in our homes! No outside career can replace the joy of having a testimony in the homes! The pain of the women in their homes is a reminder of the sin of Eve, the ugliness of sin that spoiled the paradise. Eve wanted to be wise without God. She wanted to become independent of God, to be happy by herself. The godly woman must find joy in her relationship with God and other people. That is a great testimony for every woman of God!  

Apostle Paul says: “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless, she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control. (1 Tim 2:8-15).  In Greek, the word ‘saved’ also means to heal, preserve, protect, rescue, and to deliver. The word ‘childbearing’ means raising a family, fruitfulness. Natural motherhood cannot save a woman’s soul. Every man or woman on earth is saved by grace thru faith in Christ Crucified. This sentence may mean that a woman is saved from the curse placed on her in Genesis 3 by showing proof of her salvation and holiness in wining many souls. These are her children, male and female, natural and spiritual. Because Eve’s sin, women were under the curse of silence. They could not speak in public because they had nothing to say. They had to learn submission to their husbands and to God. Thru Christ, the daughter of Eve has been delivered from the demons of deception, foolishness, and rebellion.

God created Eve as a wife and helper to Adam. In the marriage, the wife is a helpmeet to her own husbands (not to all men, but to her own husband). Because of Eve’s sin, and the curse on her, she now will find pain in her relationship with her husband and her children.

Nevertheless, she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control!!! This is an open door or revelation to the women. This salvation is not from sin to become born again. But a believing woman can reverse the curse and it is manifested at the very point of the curse. She will become a godly mother and mentor, to her children, physical and spiritual. That woman, who has a testimony of overcoming the curse, she can speak! She is delivered from the punishment of silence. She has something to say! She is a godly woman and will raise a godly generation! Oh, the freedom and fulfillment found in Christ alone! In the quietness of her home, she has studied the Word of God, both the warnings and the promises. She has a testimony of applying the Word of God daily! She teaches her children, natural and spiritual, to do the same. She has defeated the devil who has deceived her! She has become a mother in Zion! Spiritual maturity and godly leadership in a woman are rare gifts. Be like Deborah!  “Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, Until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel… villagers couldn’t work in their fields. Then Deborah took command, protecting Israel as a mother protects her children” (Judg 5:7; NKJ; CEV). To the glory of God! 

HOW DID JESUS RELATED TO WOMEN?

During the time our Lord lived on earth, women were treated as second class citizens. Our Lord treated women with love and respect. He reminded the people that God created men and women in His image.

Jesus came to earth not just as a Man. He came as a Person. He saw the women not in relationship with men but as creatures of God.

*First, Jesus regularly addressed women directly while in public. This was unusual for men to do. This shows respect and love!

The disciples were amazed to see Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman at the well of Sychar (John 4:7-26). He also spoke freely and publicly with the woman taken in adultery (John 8:10–11), with the widow of Nain (Luke 7:12–13), with the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:48; cf. Matt. 9:22; Mark 5:34), and a woman who called to him from a crowd (Luke 11:27–28). Similarly, Jesus addressed a woman bent over for eighteen years (Luke 13:12) and a group of women on the route to the cross (Luke 23:27-31).    

*A second aspect of Jesus’s regard for the value of women is seen in how He spoke to the women he addressed. He spoke in a thoughtful, caring manner. He called them ‘daughter’ or ‘daughter of Abraham’ (Lk 13:16). By doing that, He made them spiritually equal to men!

*Third, Jesus did cover up the sin in the lives of the women He met. He held women personally responsible for their own sin as seen in his dealings with the woman at the well (John 4:16–18), the woman taken in adultery (John 8:10–11), and the sinful woman who anointed his feet (Luke 7:44–50). Their sin was not ignored but confronted. He did not treat them as foolish childish people. He expected them to think about His warnings, to repent, receive forgiveness and change!

It is true that the first twelve apostles were all men. But let us remember that the disciples of Jesus were both men and women. He helped the women see themselves as God created them. He gave them the same salvation. In the Kingdom of God there are no secondhand citizens. In Christ we are all one! Christ appreciated the women in a way that was revolutionary. He appreciated their worship, testimonies, ministry, and financial contribution. In Christ, the curse placed on Eve and her daughters is broken! Jesus is the hope of glory for all!!! What a Savior! Worship the Lord!!!

‘TALK TO ME’

‘Prayer is the recipe for mental and emotional health. Pray about everything! Pray about ‘the ordinary’ things of life! ‘Talk to Me about ALL your concerns’- says God!


Anxiety kills your prayer life! Anxiety should be replaced, step by step, with an active, diligent, spiritual effort to pray! God wants you to talk to Him! Think healthy! Think about Jesus! Find Him inside all lovely, precious and beautiful things… Force your mind to think well, to dwell on the Word, by the power of the Spirit… Reject sinful thoughts immediately! Eventually, you will end up with peace and joy, thanksgiving, worship and a wonderful life style of prayer.
Anxiety and prayer are opposites. Chose prayer and anxiety will go away leaving behind a mind and a heart fully protected by the peace of God ‘that passes all understanding’. This peace of Jesus is high above all common sense, much more than words can say. You shall encounter the God of that peace, the Prince of Peace Himself!

Question: what happens when you pray? Look at our Lord! When our Lord Jesus prayed, the heavens opened! The Spirit came down with His infusing power from above. The Father spoke into His life, like only a Father could speak: words of love, of family identity and confidence, of assured future and destiny. Prayer was the invisible foundation of the successful ministry of God’s Son on earth (Lk 3:21-23).

The intimate relationship with God, prayer and thanksgiving, these are foundation stones in your Christian life. The secret of success is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. He gives you contentment, peace, joy, divine wisdom, divine health, anointing for ministry and favor with men. Prayer is the source of power to remain active, to prosper and be fruitful in all situations, especially in the difficult ones. Prayer changes you and your surroundings. Prayer makes you to be like Jesus! What a privilege!


‘Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you’ (Philip 4:9, AM)

(In the picture a little girl from our church in Nigeria, praying to God)

THE GOSPEL IN GENESIS 3

IN THE BEGINNING GOD (PART 8 ) – THE GOSPEL IS GENESIS 3

During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached from the Book of Genesis chapter 3. She said that Genesis chapter 3 is absolutely essential in understanding the Bible and the history of man. Here we see how sin entered humanity. For the first time, we are presented with the Gospel of Christ. If you study the history of man, there is no better explanation of why things happen the way they do, except you believe the doctrine of the fall of man and the doctrine of the original sin.

THE FALL OF MAN also called the fall of Adam, or simply the Fall, is a term used in Christianity to describe the transition of the first man and woman from a state of innocent obedience to God to a state of guilty disobedience. The doctrine of the Fall comes from a biblical interpretation of Genesis, chapters 1-3. God created Adam and Eve perfect. They were innocent concerning sin. But God allowed their free will to manifest. Obedience meant life. Disobedience to God’s command meant death. God gave Adam a covenant of works. He broke the covenant. God then sent His Son Jesus Christ with a covenant of Grace. We believe Jesus Christ, that He died for us. Grace means unmerited favor. If Adam, as perfect as he was could not keep the covenant of works, God knew that we cannot keep it. That is why Grace is introduced thru Christ. That is why salvation in Christ cannot fail. We are saved by Grace, thru faith in Jesus Christ, in His death on the Cross. Salvation in Christ is eternal!

THE ORIGINAL SIN: The fall of man affected all humanity and even the creation. Adam broke God’s law. He sinned! He was our representative on earth. This sin has affected all humanity. All Adam’s descendants are born sinners. The nature of the first sin: man refused to submit himself to the will of God, to have God decide the course of his life. He wanted to be independent from God. Devil’s pride entered man. Pride means to remove God from the center of man’s heart and replace Him with self. This first sin affected the whole man, body, mind, emotions and will. It corrupted man. Thru sin, sickness and death entered humanity. Sin reveals itself in the mind mostly as unbelief; in the emotions as fear and restlessness; and in his will as pride! “As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:10, 23). In Greek, the word ‘sin’ means ‘to miss the mark’, to fail to be fulfilled, to be disappointed in life. All unbelievers, no matter how wealthy or famous, are never satisfied with their success or possessions. The words ‘fall short’ mean failure to obtain something precious, failing the exam of life, becoming inferior, demoted, being too late to catch the train of life. God is a God of glory. Glory is what makes God, God. Glory is a combination of beauty and power. It is life shining like the light. God made man to be ‘in His own image’. Man was created to be covered with God’s glory. Sin separated man from His God and the glory was removed. Man discovered himself to be naked. Glory covers! Sin exposes! “The LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering” (Is 4:5). Jehovah ‘will create’. In Hebrew, this is the same word as in Genesis 1:1. ‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…’. In Christ, God’s glory is restored. It will manifest as a cloud and smoke by day, to protect from the heat, from the temptations of life. God’s glory over His people, over His church will also be as ‘the shinning of a flaming fire by night’. This describes a weapon of light and fire; like a flash, a sharply polished blade, a sword moving over the church. This picture reminds us of the cherubs stationed at the gate of the Garden of Eden, blocking men to re-enter, to eat from the tree of life (Gen 3:24). Mount Zion is the assembly of God’s worshippers (Heb 12:22-24). They are inside the garden of life now, and God’s glory protects them from the outsiders. They will never be found naked or rejected. In Christ, they are ‘accepted in the Beloved’ (Eph 1:6). God sacrificed the pure Lamb and used the bloody skins to make covering for man (Gen3:21). Blood was shed for glory to come back and to cover God’s His people. The unbelieves are always naked and ashamed before God. But there is total protection for the children of God! Glory to God!

WHAT IS MAN? I read on the internet that Yale University biophysicist Harold J. Morowitz says that the human body is worth $6 million. And that price covers only the raw materials – hormones, proteins, enzymes, etc. The intricate work of fashioning the material into human cells might cost six thousand trillion dollars. And assembling these cells into a functioning human being would drain all the world’s treasures. Oh, Lord, “when I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:3-6). In Hebrew, the word ‘mindful’ means to remember, to think about. To ‘visit’ it means to inspect, to oversee, to care. Man is sinful, an enemy to God. Man is weak and useless to God. Even so, God who created man, loves man, and God saves man from himself! Christ took flesh upon Himself to die for man. Man is a reflected glory of God! This is a great mystery! Glory to God!

THE CONSEQUENCES OF SIN FOR ADAM AND EVE

The serpent questions Eve about God’s law. He plants seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind, about God’s power and goodness. It gives the impression that God does not have the power to kill them, even if they disobey His law. The devil also makes Eve dissatisfied with God’s provision. He gives the impression that God does not love them enough by restricting them to eat from the fruit of knowledge of good and evil. The idea is that God wants them to be foolish, like slaves. Also, the devil injects pride in Eve’s mind. Suddenly, Eve looks foolish. But this is a reminder of the power of sin, the sinfulness of sin. Deceived, Eve gives the fruit to Adam who eats it also. We are told that Adam was not deceived like his wife. He disobeyed God’s law. His sin is more of rebellion. That was his fall. When Adam saw that Eve eat the fruit and did not die immediately, he was encouraged to eat too. Because Adam was the leader of the home, he now must take responsibility for both of their sins. The doctrine is called the Fall of man or of Adam, and not of Eve. “Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Tim 2:13, 14). In the Garden, Adam and Eve had fellowship with God. This fellowship was to be the source of their faith and all knowledge. Not the fruit of that tree. Just imagine the sound of Jehovah Elohim walking in the early evening, when the weather is pleasant, when the wind blows softly, after the heat of the day. God comes as the owner of the Garden to fellowship with His people. In the past, they Adam and Eve waited happily for these daily visits. But after the fall, Adam and Eve hide behind the trees. They were ashamed and afraid. They did not know that God sees thru any covering. No man can hide before God. They feared the judgment of God! “There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb 4:13). Once they eat the forbidden fruit, their eyes ‘are opened’. They became ‘like God’. But not exactly! They now know there is good and evil, God and Satan. But this knowledge was not to their advantage. This illegal knowledge, gained thru sin, became their bondage. The devil became their master. God alone knows good and evil, but He is free from evil. The knowledge of evil in Adam corrupted him. He lost his innocence. It is only in Christ, that we regain what Adam has lost. We regain the innocence, purity and power of the Spirit. But we gain more than that. As children of God, we now know good and evil, but we are free from the power of evil. We are now like God, holy and righteous! We love God and we hate evil! What a transformation! Glory to God! Immediately they sinned, Adam and Eve felt a sense of loss, fear, nakedness, and shame. At the beginning, the glory of God covered them. Now, that glory is lost. They now feel afraid, exposed. When God comes to fellowship with them, they are afraid, and they hide behind the trees. They forgot that God created the trees too! Trees stand for excuses not to have fellowship with God. There is now fear of punishment and death. They try to repair the damage they have done. They use fig leaves to cover themselves. These fig leaves are a symbol of man’s success in this world to hide his sinful nature. There are ‘leaves’ of religion, education, philosophy and art. But nothing and nobody can hide sin and shame except the Blood of Jesus! Jesus died naked so that we can be covered by His Blood and the glory that it represents! Lastly, God’s Grace manifests! The Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected is introduced! Grace is always greater than sin! God is still speaking to man! In Judgment there is mercy! The Bible is the most practical book. It tells the story of God and of humanity. Genesis 1-3, this is the history of humanity. It is not an allegory. It is not fiction! Man has disobeyed God and God is searching for man, to save him. As sinners, we all know the sense of failure. We all search for happiness outside God, but we cannot find it! The Gospel brings us out from behind the trees. God’s voice is still calling you by name: “Where are you?” Why are men so unhappy, so helpless? Because the devil is their master, and he controls this world! That is the only explanation! The tragedy of man is that he only sees the visible. Only in Christ we can be set free, from the bondage, the pollution and power of sin! That is why Jesus died! There are two types of history running parallel: The visible and the invisible. The natural man sees only the visible history. The spiritual man sees both. That is his advantage and wisdom. The child of God sees God as the Creator, and the Sustainer of the universe. But he also sees God as His heavenly Father, Savior and Redeemer! The believer sees God and the world thru the eyes of faith. The Gospel tells us the truth: we all fell with Adam. We are born sinners. We cannot help ourselves. We are destined to die and go to hell. That is why God sent His only begotten Son to die in our place. The world hates the truth. The natural man hates to be told that he is a sinner. He loves the offer of free salvation, but he hates to humble himself as a man who offended God. Here you see that God’s plan of salvation was made by God even before Adam was created. In a way, God created Adam and Eve as a ‘bait’ to expose and condemn the devil’s wickedness. In Genesis 3 you see evil and grace side by side. “The law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Rom 5:20). The word ‘abound’ means to increase, to spread, to become greater. In the battle against sin, Grace always wins! God (Jehovah Elohim) calls Adam: “Where are you?” Even in disobedience, even with a broken heart, God is still searching for Adam. Man cannot escape from God! Even from the God who created him, but he broke his heart! This is the Gospel! “Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them” (Gen 3:21). Adam was hiding behind the trees. These are people and things we use to hide behind them. Because of inferiority complex and guilt, we hide behind famous people, hobbies or interesting things of the world. That is why people are addicted to TV shows and entertainment. They idolize others who are more intelligent, more beautiful or wealthier than they. These are the trees. We are always interested in others. Because we are sinners, we are busybodies and restless. God made clothes for them. Not from leaves, but from animal skins, possibly from lambs. Behind these simple words of ‘fashion design’ blood is shed. For the first time, Adam and Eve see God killing an animal. They have never seen death. Now they see it. They committed sin but another one died in their place. This is the Gospel of Christ Crucified! Adam and Eve were sent out of the Garden. Just imagine the feeling… out of the beautiful, happy and safe, garden, made by God for them!!! They are now in the world, lonely, afraid, guilty, confused. In the Garden, they exercised dominion over all the creation, in the name of God. Now, they are now under the dominion of satan. They are rejected by God! There is a hope that one day, God will help them. But until then, they are alone.

THE CURSE IN THE GARDEN AND THE GOSPEL ANNOUNCED “So, the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (Gen 3:14, 15)The serpent is cursed more than all the animals because he cooperated with the devil. In the previous two verses, God talks to Adam and Eve, asking them why they had disobeyed His command and had eaten from the forbidden tree. But now, God turns to the serpent and without asking any question, He curses it! He doesn’t ask the serpent what he did. He doesn’t look for a confession or to engage in debate with the serpent. Apparently, Satan either possessed a snake created by God, or he took the form of a snake. Everything in this life, good or bad, has consequences. It is the natural and spiritual law of sowing and reaping. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Gal 6:7-8). But the curses of God in Genesis 3 are not like that. This is God’s judgment upon a serpent that He created! As the Almighty God, The Judge of the Universe, God has the right to do what He wants to do with His creation. God, Jehovah Elohim, the Judge of all the universe, is speaking! Fear God! Sin offended God! Sin violated God’s Word and God’s glory! It ruined man and his descendants! Thru sin, man surrendered the dominion God gave him, to Satan. God manifests His authority by cursing the snake. God can never be the victim of Satan. Even in this tragedy, God is still God, and He speaks! The curses demonstrate God’s sovereignty! God was sovereign before and after the fall of man! Nothing can change that! Praise the Lord! In Genesis 3 verse 14 you have the curse of the natural serpent. In verse 15 you have the curse of the supernatural Satan. God actually curses the animal. The animal has no sense of sin. The animal was simply used by Lucifer, by Satan. But God curses the animal anyway. God has a purpose in cursing the serpent! God cursed the serpent more than all the animals, domestic (represented by the cattle) and wild (represented by the beasts of the field). God is specific why He cursed the serpent. God said: “Because you have done this”. Because the serpent co-operated with Satan, God curses all the natural snakes. The devil wanted to rise above God (Is 14: 12-15). The snake will crawl on his belly, never to rise again! The crawling of snakes is a reminder of God’s judgment over Satan! Snakes are an abomination to God and to man! “Every creeping thing that creeps on the earth shall be an abomination. It shall not be eaten. Whatever crawls on its belly… these you shall not eat, for they are an abomination” (Lev 11:41, 42). Serpents are the most hated animals on earth. God said: “Dust shall you eat!” Snakes do not eat dust. They eat insects and little animals. But the words ‘eating dust’ represent total defeat. About Christ it is said: “Let the nomads of the desert bow before Him and His enemies lick the dust.” (Ps 72:9). It’s a symbol of being totally defeated and brought low, down to the lowest! In Christ, our enemies will lick the dust of our feet. “Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations and set up My standard for the peoples; They shall bring your sons in their arms, And your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders; Kings shall be your foster fathers, And their queens your nursing mothers; They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth, and lick up the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord, for they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.” (Is 49:22, 23). In Christ, our victory against the forces of darkness, is sure! In the future, when God will make a new earth and new heavens, the animals will live in peace with one another. They will all be vegetarians. They will not eat one another again. But even in that new world, the snakes will still crawl on the ground and eat dust. There is no redemption for the devil! “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,” Says the Lord” (Is 65:25). The curse of God upon the natural and spiritual serpent is forever! God placed ‘enmity’ between the woman and her Seed, which is our Lord Jesus Christ, and the spiritual serpent and his seed. The word ‘enmity’ means a hostility that can never be settled. It is true that now, the devil is called the god of this world. But even then, it is not easy for Satan to rule over man. The Grace of God still rescues men from the bondage of sin. Once man repents of his sin, he runs to Jesus! The devil ‘bruised’ Christ on His heel. This is a picture of the Crucifixion. But with that ‘bruised’ heal, our Lord bruised, better said crushed, the head of the devil. Thru His death on the Cross, our Lord destroyed him who had the power of death. This is the Gospel we preach! This is our only hope and victory! Worship the Lord!!!

AMONG THE LIONS, DANIEL LOOKS AT JESUS!!!

Daniel’s enemies rejoice that they have ‘killed’ him (Daniel 6). But their joy will not last! Please look at Brother Daniel!!! With his hands tied behind his back, surrounded by hungry lions, he looks, not at the lions, but up, unto God, unto Jesus!!!

Lesson: Obey God, serve Him faithfully! Please God and not man! Leave the consequences with God! Continue to look up unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith! Stop looking down at yourself or at the circumstances around you. God will surely save and vindicate you! The Lord who commanded the waves and the wind: “Peace, be still!”, is still speaking! May God, the Lifter of your Head, perform His miracle for you today! To God be all the glory!

(Picture taken from the internet)

THE DOCTRINE OF ORIGINAL SIN

IN THE BEGINNING GOD (7) THE DOCTRINE OF THE FALL OF MAN AND OF ORIGINAL SIN

During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached from the Book of Genesis chapter 3. She said that Genesis chapter 3 is absolutely essential in understanding the Bible and the history of man. Here we see how sin entered humanity. For the first time, we are presented with the Gospel of Christ. If you study the history of man, there is no better explanation of why things happen the way they do, except you believe the doctrine of the fall of man and the doctrine of the original sin.

The fall of man, also called the fall of Adam, or simply the Fall, is a term used in Christianity to describe the transition of the first man and woman from a state of innocent obedience to God to a state of guilty disobedience. The doctrine of the Fall comes from a biblical interpretation of Genesis, chapters 1-3. God created Adam and Eve perfect. They were innocent concerning sin. But God allowed their free will to manifest. Obedience meant life. Disobedience to God’s command meant death.  God gave Adam a covenant of works. He broke the covenant. God then sent His Son Jesus Christ with a covenant of Grace. We believe Jesus Christ, that He died for us. Grace means unmerited favor. If Adam, as perfect as he was could not keep the covenant of works, God knew that we cannot keep it. That is why Grace is introduced thru Christ. That is why salvation in Christ cannot fail. We are saved by Grace, thru faith in Jesus Christ, in His death on the Cross. Salvation in Christ is eternal!

THE ORIGINAL SIN: The fall of man affected all humanity and even the creation. Adam broke God’s law. He sinned! He was our representative on earth. This sin has affected all humanity. All Adam’s descendants are born sinners. The nature of the first sin: man refused to submit himself to the will of God, to have God decide the course of his life. He wanted to be independent from God. Devil’s pride entered man. Pride means to remove God from the center of man’s heart and replace Him with self. This first sin affected the whole man, body, mind, emotions and will. It corrupted man. Thru sin, sickness and death entered humanity. Sin reveals itself in the mind as unbelief; in the emotions as fear and restlessness; and in his will as pride! “As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:10, 23). The temptation to sin came from the devil, a fallen angel. The devil possessed and used the serpent, an animal God has created. The devil tempted Eve first, possibly because she was the weaker one between the two. She was not the one who received the command directly. Adam was to teach her God’s command. She was not the leader of the home therefore she did not have the same sense of responsibility as Adam. The devil knew that if he can deceive Eve into sin, being the closest to Adam, and she may convince her husband to share in her sin. The devil’s evil plan worked. The man, God’s creation, God’s masterpiece was damaged beyond repair. The whole creation suffered from the fall of man. Because we are born sinners, we are unable to love God, know God or believe the Gospel. This explains why sin is universal. There is no other explanation why all men are born corrupt. Adam’s sin is transmitted to his natural descendants. “Like father like son”! The doctrine of original sin vindicates God when men blame Him for all the calamites in the world. The original sin creates a hunger for a Savior. The Holy Spirit uses it to direct our hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ! St Augustine (354-430 AD) was the first theologian who defined the original sin. Almost all the denominations (Roman Catholic, Anglican, Pentecostal…) believe in this doctrine. Judaism, Islam and all other religions, reject this doctrine. They insist that man is born perfect and the environment changes man to make him sinful. This is an error. The truth is that man is born in a state of sin, as an enemy to God! A baby may look innocent but soon, he will manifest his hatred against God!   

THE CURE FOR SIN! There is no cure for sin except the death of the Son of God, who became Man! Only Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, especially in His work on the Cross saves a man. There is no other Savior! There is no other salvation! This redemption planed and provided by God, even before the foundation of the world is called salvation. It is announced thru the Gospel of Christ crucified and resurrected. Adam was created under the covenant of works. He needed to obey God’s command to stay alive. But Adam failed to obey! He, a perfect man, in a perfect environment, failed to keep God’s command. Thru Christ, man is offered the covenant of Grace. Grace means unmerited favor. Jesus Christ is the called the second Man or the last Adam (1Cor 15:45-48). Unlike Adam, He obeyed God’s commands unto death. He obeyed God’s Law for us. He was not born into sin. He did not commit any sin. Jesus became sin for us, that is why He died. He was buried. On the third day, our Lord resurrected from the death. We are one with Christ, in a mystical union. We died with Him, we were buried with Him, we rose from the death with Him. Now, in Christ, we seat with Him in the heavenly places! This is the Gospel, the power of salvation to all who believe! Glory! 

THE ESSENTIAL CHARACTER OF SIN: Sin is a specific type of evil. Sin is a moral evil for which man is directly responsible and which brings him under the sentence of condemnation and death. Sin has an absolute character. Holiness is absolute and sin is absolute. There is no mixing between the two. The Bible does not know of a spiritually neutral ground. Sin is death and righteousness is life! Sin is not only related to offences against other people. Basically, sin is an offence against God and His law. Sin is breaking God’s law and God’s heart. Sin includes guilt and pollution. Man is born a sinner, guilty and morally corrupted. The headquarter of sin is the heart, which is the central organ of the soul. From there, sin influences the whole man. Sin manifests as sinful acts and habits. But sin is more than these. Sin is the total corruption resident in man. Sin is always evil. What are the results of the first sin? Man lost the image of God. He lost the true knowledge of God, the righteousness and holiness given to him by God. Man became totally depraved. Sin’s pollution affected every part of man, body, soul and spirit. Man, now, is not capable to know and please God. He becomes afraid of God and His punishment, which includes death. Man feels ashamed of being deceived by the devil. It affected Adam and his marriage with Eve. His conscience accuses him. Man is driven away from the Garden of Eden. Man feels rejected by God. Man has been trying to re-gain the paradise lost. But he is trying to do that by his power and wisdom. He can never go back to the tree of life. The only way to go back is thru the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! Christ went to the Cross!

THE FALL OF SATAN (The devil fell before Adam)

We continue to study the fall of man in the Garden. The devil possessed the serpent and used it to tempt Eve. To understand the power of sin we should look at who the devil is even before the fall of Adam in the Garden. This is what our Lord says about the devil: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (Jn 8:44). The devil was a murderer ‘from the beginning’. The devil was created by God long before Adam was created. He was once created perfect. He oversaw the praise the worship in heaven. Our Lord calls him ‘a murderer from the beginning’. It means that all his good deeds before what is called ‘the beginning’ were cancelled by God. The devil has no good testimony. He was a murderer and a liar, from the beginning. When he rebelled in heaven, he could not kill anyone. God created the earth and man on it. To prove that the devil is a murderer, God allowed him to ‘kill’ Adam and Eve, the crown of God’s creation. The universe could not have known how wicked the devil is before Adam was led to death by the devil’s temptation. Thru Adam, all mankind died. This murderer and liar, the devil, was the same who deceived Eve saying: “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Gen 3:1). Eve did not know that ‘an armed robber’, the enemy of the God who created her, was talking to her. He pretended to be an innocent friend, passing by in the garden. You can see how the devil deceived Eve. She did not see the truth about his wickedness behind the pleasant question.

The devil was created perfect. Later, he became proud and wanted to take God’s place. One third of the angels created by God followed him in his rebellion. God threw them out of heaven to the earth. We are not given many details but just a glimpse of the tragedy that happened in heaven, long before Adam was created. “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit” (Is 14:12-15). As you can see, the devil was once perfect, with wisdom and beauty. He was called ‘Lucifer’, the Son of the Morning. But once he became proud, he sinned. God sent him away from heaven. Our Lord said that before He became a Man on earth, He saw the fall of Satan. The word Devil means Slanderer and the word Satan means Accuser. The devil was a fallen angel even before God created Adam. In a way, God created Adam and Eve as a ‘bait’ for the Devil. Our Lord knew that the devil sinned and was thrown down from heaven. “Jesus said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Lk 10:18-20).

The devil is also called Dragon, The serpent of Old, Satan and the Accuser of the Brethren. Our Lord came to earth, He died in our place that we may be free from the judgment of sin and death. In Christ we have received much more that Adam lost thru his fall. In Christ, we have authority to fight and conquer the devil. Our weapons are faith in the Blood of Jesus shed on the Cross and the Word of our Testimony. To share a testimony is more than telling people that ‘God help me to buy a new car’. Thank God for your car. But, you need to share how the Word of God has worked in you, how it has transformed you. For a testimony to truly become a weapon, the Word of God must change your heart and give you an eternal value. A true testimony is telling people what God has done for you to take you to heaven. That testimony is a weapon. The devil fears it! We must speak more about the victory we have in Jesus! Halleluiah!  

“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God, day and night, has been cast down. they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” (Rev 12:7-12). Lesson: God has a plan and a purpose for His creation. He is the Creator and the Redeemer of man! God created the universe! After man fell, God redeemed man, thru the Cross! God will punish sin and the devil! Halleluiah!

The Bible is the most practical book. It tells the story of God and of humanity. Genesis 1-3, this is the history of humanity. It is not an allegory. It is not fiction! Man has disobeyed God and God is searching for man, to save him. As sinners, we all know the sense of failure. We all search for happiness outside God, but we cannot find it! The Gospel brings us out from behind the trees. God’s voice is still calling you by name: “Where are you?” Why are men so unhappy, so helpless? Because the devil is their master, and he controls this world! That is the only explanation! The tragedy of man is that he only sees the visible. Only in Christ we can be set free, from the bondage, the pollution and power of sin! That is why Jesus died! There are two types of history running parallel: The visible and the invisible. The natural man sees only the visible history. The spiritual man sees both. That is his advantage and wisdom. The child of God sees God as the creator and the sustainer of the universe. He sees God thru the eyes of faith. The Gospel tells us the truth: we all fell with Adam. We are born sinners. We cannot help ourselves. We are destined to die and go to hell. God sent His only begotten Son to die in our place. The world hates the truth. The natural man hates to be told that he is a sinner. He loves the offer of free salvation, but he hates to humble himself as a man who offended God.

“Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them” (Gen 3:21). God made clothes for them. Not from leaves, but from animal skins, possibly from lambs. Behind these simple words of ‘fashion design’ blood is shed. For the first time, Adam and Eve see God killing an animal. They have never seen death. Now they see it. They committed sin but another one died in their place. This is the Gospel of Christ Crucified!

Adam and Eve were sent out of the Garden. Just imagine the feeling… out of the beautiful, happy and safe, garden, made by God for them!!! They are now in the world, lonely, afraid, guilty, confused. In the Garden, they exercised dominion over all the creation, in the name of God. Now, they are now under the dominion of satan. They are rejected by God! There is a hope that one day, God will help them. But until then, they are alone.    

The devil spoke to Eve and addressed God as only Elohim, the Creator. He ignored the name Jehovah, which is the Covenant Relationship God. God spoke to Adam and Eve as Jehovah Elohim, the Husband Creator. But the devil was seducing Eve, implying that he is a better candidate to be her ‘husband’. She did not know that this new ‘romantic’ person called the devil, was a fallen angel. She did not know that she was speaking to an armed robber, a kidnapper. She was deceived to agree with the devil and to ‘marry’ him. In Christ, God is our Creator, Maker and Husband forever. Nothing can ever separate or divorce us. The Love of God in Christ is forever! Blood was shed for us to boast of His Love! Glory!

This is God’s promise to all who are in Christ: “Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore. For your Maker is your husband, The Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth. For the Lord has called you Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, Like a youthful wife when you were refused,” Says your God. “For a mere moment I have forsaken you, But with great mercies I will gather you. With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,” Says the Lord, your Redeemer” (Is 54:4-8). Oh, may the mercy of God locate you! May the Grace of God surround you! Worship the Lord!  

PRESS ON!

This is a word of encouragement for the believer who is at the threshold of deliverance. You have prayed and trusted God. You are now waiting for your healing, your breakthrough or your deliverance. But suddenly things got worse. Please read Exodus 5. Prophetically this is a drama and you are an actor there. Choose your ‘role’! Pharaoh stands for the devil. Moses and Aaron stand for mature servants of God, leaders, pastors. The people of God represent the believers in Christ. The Egyptians are your unbelieving friends and relatives. They do not understand your desire to be free. If they do not get converted to Jehovah they will be left behind once the door of freedom is opened for you. This is the background story: The people of Israel have been in Egypt for more than 400 years. Initially things were good for them but later, they became slaves to the Egyptians and suffered greatly. God sees their pain and sends Moses in His name to be their savior. Moses confronts Pharaoh, the king of Egypt with the words: “Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness!” (Ex 5:1). Pharaoh rejects Jehovah’s word. He attacks God’s people. He increases the burden upon the slaves. From now on they have to work double for the same ‘salary’. The leaders of God’s people are under great pressure to perform the impossible. To please Pharaoh they oppress their own people. But they failed to perform. They are beaten and abused by the Egyptians task masters. Lesson: persecution coming from your friends and enemies shall increase just before your healing, your deliverance. Behind them is the devil who is trying to stop your progress!

Under pressure to work in such a negative environment of hopeless frustration and deep depression, the people of God make two mistakes. The first one is this: they go and cry to Pharaoh to make their labor lighter. Pharaoh refuses to listen to their pleas and even insults them saying that they are ‘idle and lazy’. Pharaoh calls their desire to worship Jehovah as ‘lies and vain words’. Lesson: the devil has no mercy. Never expect any good thing from the devil. He will try to kill you with work so that you forget to worship your God. You should cry to God and not to the devil. This is the second mistake: Rejected by Pharaoh, the people of God insulted Moses and Aaron. They blamed their leaders for their troubles. Lesson: if you are blind to God’s plan to heal you, to deliver you, to bless you, when trouble comes you will attack the man of God who brought you the good news of salvation and hope. Never insult your pastors! Bless and pray for them! Moses stands as a true man of God. In the past, when his people rejected him as their leader, Moses ran away from ministry. But this time he stands trusting God. He does the right thing: “Moses returned to the Lord” (Ex 5:22).

Moses prays to God who answers with an immediate action. This is not a time for only words! God promises to punish Egypt and they will know that He is God! “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.” And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord” (Ex 6:1, 2)

Child of God, these are some lessons for this season: God calls you to serve Him but your obedience must be tasted. You have to stand faithful even when you are lonely and rejected like Moses! Trust God who called you. Do not trust in man! Never complain! Do not slander your pastors! Pray for wisdom, for understanding of God’s plan in your life! God sees the end from the beginning. Pray that you see the end of the trial too! The joy you see at the end will empower you to endure! The devil hates God’s worship and God’s work. You must pay the price to be a worshipper or a worker for God! Trust God for the breakthrough! For miracles! For vengeance! You should know that before the day breaks the night is the darkest. Be encouraged! Forget the past! The devil is a liar and a loser! God has the last say! Press on into the light! Exercise your faith! Hold on to your hope! God is working something on your behalf! God is not a man that He should lie! This trial will not kill you! You shall come out of this fire stronger than ever! Your testimony has been approved by God! Both friends and enemies will see it! None can stop it! Let the weak say: I am strong! Let the sick say: I am healed! Let the poor say: I am rich! Let the oppressed say: I am free! Free to worship God! To the glory of God! Be filled with the Holy Spirit! In Jesus’ name, amen!

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal 6:9)

THE FALL OF MAN

IN THE BEGINNING GOD (6) THE DOCTRINE OF THE FALL OF MAN

During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached from the Book of Genesis chapter 3. She said that Genesis chapter 3 is absolutely essential in understanding the Bible and the history of man. Here we see how sin entered humanity. For the first time, we are presented with the Gospel of Christ. If you study the history of man, there is no better explanation of why things happen the way they do, except you believe the doctrine of the fall of man and the doctrine of the original sin.

The fall of man, also called ‘the fall of Adam’, or simply ‘the Fall’, is a term used in Christianity to describe the transition of the first man and woman from a state of innocent obedience to God to a state of guilty disobedience. The doctrine of the Fall comes from a biblical interpretation of Genesis, chapters 1-3. God created Adam and Eve perfect. They were innocent concerning sin. But God allowed their free will to manifest. Obedience meant life. Disobedience to God’s command meant death.  God gave Adam a covenant of works. He broke the covenant.

This is a reminder that later, God then sent His Son Jesus Christ with a covenant of Grace. We believe Jesus Christ, that He died for us. Grace means unmerited favor. If Adam, as perfect as he was could not keep the covenant of works, God knew that we cannot keep it. Grace is introduced thru Christ. That is why salvation is Christ can never fail. We are saved, not by works, but by Grace, thru faith in Jesus Christ, in His death on the Cross. Salvation in Christ is eternal!

At first, Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden. It was their home, their paradise created by God specifically for them. They were happy as a husband and wife. They worked and took care of the garden. God, their Creator, visited them daily, in the evenings, to fellowship with them. This was their lifestyle. God put Adam in the Garden and commanded him “to tend and keep it” (Gen 2:15). These words mean that Adam was supposed to cultivate the Garden and to watch over it. In other words, Adam was to be a farmer and a watchman. God did not tell Adam about the devil, but the command to watch over the garden implies that there is an enemy outside there. Adam was commanded to protect the garden from enemies. This command was given to Adam before Eve was formed. That is why when both fell, God held Adam responsible for both of their sins. He was formed first. He was the leader of the home. God gave the law to him in particular. He was to teach Eve the law. But he failed to do so. That is why their fall into sin is called The Fall of Man or The fall of Adam. Adam understood the law of God. He was created intelligent. He was also created to love God and obey His commands. For Adam to disobey God’s command, he had to willingly choose disobedience. Sin was not an ignorant error. Eve was deceived into sin, but Adam disobeyed God willingly and knowingly.  “Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1Tim 2:13, 14). There is a great lesson here: Husbands, fathers, pastors and leaders have a greater responsibility to protect their spiritual territory. Pray for your leaders! 

The devil using the serpent tempted them into eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They both fell into sin. God curses the serpent and curses the ground. God does not curse Adam and Eve because He has already blessed them. But God gives His judgement: there shall be pain to the woman in the process of her being a mother. Also, God adds sorrow to the man in the process of his labor. At the same time, God announces the Gospel. The Seed of the woman, Jesus Christ, will come one day and bruise the head of the devil. God clothes them with animal skins. Lastly, God expelled them from the Garden to prevent them from eating from the tree of life and becoming immortal in sin. Two cherubs with flaming swords were placed at the gate of the Garden to prevent them going back!    

The serpent was ‘more cunning’ than any other animal that God has made. The word ‘cunning’ is also translated as shrewd, wise or prudent. Initially, the serpent was created innocent. God gave it more wisdom than He gave to the other animals. Possibly, the serpent could speak at that time. Eve does not look afraid to speak to the serpent. The devil possessed the serpent and use it to tempt Eve. This is reminder: Temptation is not a sin. Agreeing with the temptation and yielding to it, is sin. Temptation came from the outside. Eve obeyed the devil and broke God’s law. That is sin!   

We are not given many details. We are not told how long Adam and Eve lived in the Garden as husband and wife. It seems that they did not live long in the Garden as a husband and wife. The devil is not introduced as devil. The serpent is its victim. There is no explanation how the devil came to possess the serpent and tempt Eve. The devil knew God’s law in the garden. He starts the discussion with Eve using a question. “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Gen 3:1. KJ).  The word ‘yea’ means a surprise. Questions are powerful on the human mind. They are like a hook. They arrest the thoughts forcing them to consider the question. Research show that for as long as the human mind thinks how to answer the question, it cannot think about any other thing. Human brain can only think of one thing at a time. Questions are selfish and possessive. They influence action. The devil knew that starting the discussion with a question, Eve’s mind will be manipulated to answer the question and forget every other thing.

Throughout His life on earth, the Pharisees bombarded our Lord with many questions. The devil was behind all those. But Jesus could not be manipulated by the devil. Each of His answers, even His silence, gave glory to God. For example, our Lord answered Pilate but refused to answer the Pharisees. “Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.” And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly” (Mt 27:11-14). It was the same with King Herod. “Then he (Herod) questioned Him (Jesus) with many words, but He answered him nothing” (Lk 23:9). What is the lesson? Questions can be spiritually poisoned arrows! They may be part of spiritual warfare! Be careful and discerning with people who ask you many questions? The devil may use the questions to try to rule over your mind. Do not allow these questions to penetrate your mind. Leave them on the altar of God. Remain calm! Pray for wisdom! Let the Holy Spirit help you deal with these questions!   

“The Lord God” in Hebrew, is Jehovah Elohim. Elohim means God, The Creator. Jehovah means the Covenant Keeping God, the personal relationship God. Towards men, God’s title Elohim is more distant than the Name Jehovah, which reflects an intimate relationship. It is Jehovah Elohim that speaks to Adam and commands him to tend and keep the Garden. It is Jehovah Elohim that tells Adam to freely eat fruits from any tree in the Garden, but not from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is Jehovah Elohim that makes a wife for Adam and invents the holy institution of marriage (Gen 2:15-18). It was the duty of Adam to teach Eve how to honor God by addressing Him with the proper names: Jehovah Elohim! It was the duty of Adam to teach Eve how to obey God’s commands! When the devil asks Eve about God’s prohibition, he only uses the name Elohim. He ignores the name Jehovah.  He dishonors God by reducing His name. He tells Eve that God is only her creator, not a God who desires a relationship with her. He makes Eve feel that God does not care for her; that is a God afar off. The devil pretends to care for them more than God. Eve falls to the deception. She takes the devil’s example, and she too addresses God only as Elohim. Both the devil and Eve ignore the name Jehovah, the personal Covenant keeping God in their first conversation! As you can see, Eve was not watchful. That is how deception entered. Sin entered. Man fell in the Garden! Their lives will never be the same again!

But in the middle of this tragedy, the Hope of the Gospel is introduced. One day, the Last Adam, the Second Man, our Lord Jesus Christ will come, and He will obey all God’s Law. He will take man’s sin upon Himself and die on behalf of man. This is the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected! Once again, light shines in the darkness! God can never fail! Jesus is Lord! Worship the Lord!   

TESTED BY PRAISE

”As the refining pot for silver and the furnace for gold man is tested by the praise he receives’ (PV 27:21)

This scripture has been on my mind… It is natural that men praise you for your gifts, for your good deeds and accomplishments. Sometimes the praise is genuine and at other times it is flattering and dangerous, to gain some illegal advantage over you. But whatever way it comes, praise is the fire of God to test your heart!!! We remember that Praise and glory belongs to God alone!!! Only God is worthy of praise! That is why we praise Him always! He does not share it with men. What then should you do when men praise you? When men praise you horizontally the right, safe and holy thing to do is to immediately send the praise up to God. Do not keep it. Do not swallow it. It will make you proud and foolish. It becomes spiritual poison to your soul. Selah!

In the scripture above we see that praise from men is like a furnace fire that refine the silver and the gold. Originally these metals contain impurities. That is why they do not shine. Once they pass thru the fire the impurities are burnt off and the pure metal shines for all to see. If it was silver it will shine as silver. If it was gold it will shine as gold. But if it was ordinary metal it will be revealed that it is not silver and gold. Spiritually speaking, the praise of men reveals the fool to be a fool! ‘ The promotion of a fool ends in his shame’ (PV 3:35). That is why I pray that promotion among men should not come to me and my family before God’s time for it! According to the Word of God, the praise of men is a test that reveals the best and the worst in men. It reveals who you really are behind the superficial golden glitter of fame covering your life. If you are a humble man the praise of men will reveal that you are wise and humble. If you are a proud and rebellious man the same praise of men will reveal that. Once praise comes you can’t hide your true self anymore.

When the women praised King Saul and David it revealed who these two men were in reality (1Sam 18:6-7). Young David ‘behaved himself wisely’ as he experienced success. He was humble during the unexpected fame in the King’s palace. He was a shepherd and a servant at heart. The reason given is that ‘the Lord was with him (1Sam 18:14). By contrast, when king Saul was praised he became angry and jealous with David. This was the door for an evil spirit ‘from the Lord’ to enter Saul. We often forget that before this time ‘Saul loved David greatly and liked him very much’ (1Sam 16:21). Their relationship as father and son started with love. But from this moment on, from the time the evil spirit of jealousy entered Saul’s heart, love died. Saul starts planning how to kill David. He became obsessed with David and did not stop this evil plan until he later died by suicide. When Saul saw that his children love David he became afraid of David (1Sam 18:1, 18, 29).

This is a spiritual law: love of men and fear of men are mutually exclusive. When love enters your heart fear runs away. When you fear men you can never love them again. What are the lessons? As a mother and a pastor I pray for my natural and spiritual children. I pray that they may be successful men and women. That is a good prayer! But I know that visible success comes with the praise and flattery of men. I know that this praise is a test to prove who they really are inside. That is why I pray that before visible success comes to them they may be changed from inside out. That they may be truly saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. I pray that they fulfil God’s plan for their lives. I also pray that in God’s mercy, visible success may be delayed until they mature spiritually so that they may be able to carry the burden of fame and wealth without breaking under it. I also pray for myself, to be patient as a mother and a pastor, as I witness the painful refining process going on in the life of my children. God’s time is the best! At last, we shall rejoice together and testify that the Lord has been with us as a family and a congregation. Glory to the Lamb of God!(from my notes August, 2018)

THE DIVINE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE

IN THE BEGINNING GOD / THE DOCTRINE OF CREATION (5)/ THE DIVINE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE

During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached from the Book of Genesis chapter two She said that we shall go and revisit the beginning of creation. The way Isaac dug Abraham’s well (Genesis 26), we want to dig our Heavenly Father’s well of eternal life! The Bible starts with four simple words: “In the beginning God…”. The Bible takes it for granted that God exists and God is the creator of everything that is created. You cannot read the Bible without faith. You must believe these words. If not, to you, the Bible looks like a foolish book.

The doctrine of creation states that creation is a miracle. God, who alone is uncreated and eternal, formed and brought into existence everything outside of Himself. He did this out of nothing, just by the Word of His power. Everything God created was very good.

Just the way Isaac went to re-dig his father’s wells, covered by the dirt of the Philistines, so we shall search for the deeper revelation found in the story of Creation. The Word of God is simple. That is why even the children understand it. But the evil spirits of religion have confused and complicated many people. This complication is a religious seduction. The intent of the devil is for us to forget the simplicity of Christ! We need to reject these demons of religion, to dig deeper and find the Water of Life, bellow, which in fact, is our Lord Jesus Christ! This process is part of the preparation for revival. As you read the story of Creation, you should have a feeling that you have heard these things in the past. But the anxiety of life, the cares of the world, the pollution of empty religion have covered the revelation. We should dig to find the water of life again! Spiritual warfare should not be strange to a believer! Jesus is Lord!

THE DIVINE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE

God gave two ordinances to mankind: To keep the Sabbath Day and the perform the institution of marriage. The Sabbath was given to preserve the Church that will be born later. Marriage was given to preserve mankind. God created marriage between a man and a woman to display His glory and for their good! Marriage is part of God’s original creation. It is an ordered, covenant relationship between a man and a woman, in the presence of God, who become one flesh, but keeping their individual personalities. Thru the marriage ceremony, the man and the woman become husband and wife. There is an order or distinction of roles within marriage. A covenant is a formal agreement between one or more people, to do or not to do something specified. Thru the marriage ceremony, the man and the woman make a covenant before God and people, acting as witnesses, that they shall live as husband and wife, for as long as they live on earth. Marriage has a spiritual, a sexual and a social component. The marriage should be between a man and a woman who are both believers in the Lord Jesus Christ! The couple pledges to serve God together, in private and in public, and to be sexually faithful to one another until death.

God created Adam from the earth. The meaning of the word ‘Adam’ is ‘The Son of the earth’. Out of Adam’s rib, God made Eve, who will be his wife. The meaning of the word ‘Eve’ is ‘The Breath of Life’. Marriage was invented by God before the fall of man. It is part of God’s original creation. There was no idea of divorce when God made Adam and Eve. God says: “I hate divorce!” (Mal 2:16). Primarily, marriage is a symbol of the relationship that exists between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  

*We see God’s image is in the plurality and unity of marriage. God said, “Let us make man in our image,” and then the text says, “male and female, he created them” (v. 26, 27). When God made man, He made a plurality. He made a man and a woman. He said they would become “one flesh” (Gen 2:24). The Trinity, they are one and yet still individual persons. When a couple gets married, they are meant to demonstrate this. Marriage demonstrates two individual people becoming “one” for the rest of their lives while maintaining their individuality.

*We see God’s image in the area of authority and submission.  In the Trinity, God the Son submits in all things to God the Father and the Holy Spirit submits to both (John 5:19, 14:26, 15:26). There is perfect submission in the Godhead. In the same way, when God made man and woman in his image, there was meant to be order in the relationship. “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (1Cor 11:3). God made the husband-and-wife relationship to mirror the Godhead specifically in the area of authority. Therefore, Ephesians 5:24 calls for wives to submit to their husbands in everything.

*We see God’s image in the area of love. “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8).  Husbands love your wives! The submission of the wife happens in a perfect loving relationship with her husband. Throughout eternity, the Godhead has always dwelled in a perfect relationship of love and authority. The Father loves the Son and the Son willingly submits to the Father. The Father does not oppress the Son and forces Him to submit. He loves the Son, and within this perfect love, the Son submits to God. The Holy Spirit loves and submits to both. The husband is called to love his wife as Christ loved the church (Eph 5:25-27). How did Christ love the church? He died for her! He also teaches her the Word of God. The husband must love his wife sacrificially and lead his wife spiritually. He leads his family to a Bible preaching church. He leads family devotions. He is the pastor of the home. He serves his wife and edifies her with his words. The wife honors him as her head and submits to him in everything (Col 3:18).

This is a redemptive picture of the gospel.  With so many troubled marriages ending in divorce, the glory of God has been greatly dimmed. It is no surprise that so many people doubt God’s existence or are falling away from him. In marriage, it should be our desire to reflect God and bring glory to him since that was his original plan. The Biblical marriage is between one man and one woman. God must be at the center. Marriage on earth is a symbol of the marriage between Christ and His Bride (Eph 5:22-33). Marriage is a mystery. The ideal marriage is between two believers in Christ. It must have spiritual foundation to have eternal value. 

What is God’s plan and purpose for marriage?  

1-To serve God together; to agree in prayer and worship God together! The main purpose why God created the institution of marriage is so that both husband and wife are holy. In the original pattern of marriage, holiness comes before happiness. Happiness is a by product of holiness.

2-For Companionship and love

The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ (Gen 2:18). God has put a deep desire in mankind for intimate companionship. Adam named all the animals but did not find one that is suitable to him. This is when he felt lonely. God made a helper to him, comparable to him. No animal can be a mate to a man. In Hebrew, the word ‘helpmeet’ means someone who can stand face to face with man, who can be his mate or counterpart. The word ‘helper’ in Hebrew is ‘ezer’. It is the same word used for the Holy Spirit!  

God gave the gift of singleness to some to allow for a deeper devotion to God and his work (1 Cor 7:32). Many singles (Like Jesus, Paul) have accomplished great work for God. But this gift is not for everyone. God wants most people to have a mate: someone to fellowship with, to dream with, to serve God with.

3-The Couple will Make a New Family Unit with God at the center

“For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). In Hebrew the word ‘leave’ means to let go of. The word ‘cleave’ means to catch by pursuit, to cling by force. “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD” (PV 18:22). It is the man who does the seeking. He is “the hunter”. The woman prepares herself to be found by him. Both have a part to play in the dating process and marriage later. God said that a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife. In marriage, a couple is starting a new family unit.  This does not mean that they are no longer their parents’ children, but it does mean that the priorities of a man and woman have changed. Their priority must now be their marriage. They are always called to honor their parents and even care for them in old age (1 Tim 5:4, 8), but they must honor their spouse first. Even Jesus left His Father to come to earth to find His Bride. his is the pattern for a successful marriage: The man and the woman must LEAVE – TO CLEAVE – SO THAT THEY BECOME!!! The man must leave the authority of his parents to go and cleave to his wife. The new unit called marriage has a stronger bond than the natural relationship between parents and children. To marry, there is a change of authority! The woman leaves the authority of her parents to go and submit to the authority of her husband. Without ‘leaving’ there is no ‘cleaving’ and therefore there is no ‘becoming one’.  

3-To Raise Godly Children

God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28).  “Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth” (Malachi 2:15). God’s command for people is to be fruitful and multiply. It is not just children he wants but godly children. One of the parents’ highest purposes is to teach their children the Bible, to help them grow in character, and to help them find their spiritual gifts and calling in serving the Lord. The bond between the husband and wife is stronger than the bond between parents and children. As parents, we train our children to know and serve God. We also prepare them to leave our nest to go and marry. There is a time to hold and there is a time to let go. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Pv 22:6)

4-To Establish and Build His Kingdom

After telling Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, God told them to have dominion, to subdue and rule over the earth. They were to be co-rulers over God’s creation and to be stewards of it.  A godly marriage is a powerful weapon for the kingdom of God. The powerful prayer of agreement works best in the marriage. Jesus said: “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Mt 19: 18-20). They build the kingdom through raising godly seed, corporate prayer, service to God’s church, missionary and evangelism of the world.

JESUS AND MARRIAGE. Jesus affirmed, honored and commended Marriage. His every allusion to marriage not only reaffirms it but strengthens it. Although He is clear that marriage is a created institution for this world (Luke 20.27), He is also emphatic that it is an honorable institution to be respected by all (Matthew 19.6; Luke 16.18).

“The Pharisees were saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.” (Matt 19:3-12)

According to our Lord, the greatest hindrance to a successful marriage is the hardness of heart. This hardness is a sin quite common even among the believers. The heart is the center of the feelings, of the total personality. Unconfessed, unrepentant sin hardens the heart (Heb 3:7-11). The hardness of heart is defined as an un-sensitive heart, merciless, stubborn, un-teachable, harsh, wicked, and cold blooded. Religious hypocrisy leads to hardness of heart (Mk 8:13-21). We repent and reject every form of hardness of heart! Holy Spirit take control! In Jesus’ name! Worship the Lord!