Our youngest daughter Jemine, her husband Matthew Oakes and their sons: Oliver (5 years), Emory (2 years) and a baby girl coming soon. To God be all the glory! (Tali- Richmond Sisan Leigh and Malia- Silvia Lia Leigh are the happy grandparents!) To God be all the glory!
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh continued preaching from the Book of Romans. The title of her sermon was ‘The Doctrine of the Wrath of God’ (2). Her main text was taken from the Book of Romans chapter 1. “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.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore, God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Rom 1:16-25)
The wrath of God is God’s view or sin; God’s hatred of sin; God’s punishment of sin! The word ‘wrath’ means justified anger, and hatred; a passion that leads to punishment. God is Holy! God is Love! God protects His Glory! God hates anything that tries to destroy His holiness, Love and Glory! That is why God hates sin! God’s wrath against sin is a manifestation of His jealous love toward His people! Therefore, to protect His glory and His people, God must punish sin! The Gospel is power because it reveals the wrath of God. The Gospel also reveals the imputed righteousness of Christ received by us thru faith. Both this righteousness and the wrath of God were best manifested at the Cross of Calvary. Both are revealed in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit! You cannot argue with unbelievers about the wrath of God or the salvation in Christ. They need God’s revelation. The word revelation means an unveiling; removing the cover and expose something behind it. Darkness and blindness are removed. The light of God must shine upon the object. “Once I was blind, but now I see…” This is called revelation!
The natural men hate this doctrine. They imagine that God is a God of love who will not punish anybody. Man hates discipline and obeying any law. Paul introduced the doctrine of the wrath of God against sin from the first chapter of Romans. The preaching of the wrath of God is foundational in preaching the Gospel. All evangelism must start with preaching the sinfulness of sin, and God’s wrath against it. Never start with man’s needs. Do not even start with Jesus! Always start with God the Father! He invented the plan of salvation! Always start with God and His glory! Many Christians ignore this doctrine. They say they believe it, but they deny it in practice. Many preachers ignore it too. They fear that people will leave their churches. But truth must be preached!
Romans 1 reveals two problems: the wrath of God and the sinfulness of sin. One of the major problems in the church is that men ‘come to Jesus’ as a Friend, Helper or Healer. They do not come to Him as hopeless desperate sinners going to hell. The preachers do not tell sinners that God is angry with sin and He will surely punish sin! To say that you are converted, and you do not have the fear of God, that is a lie! The doctrine of Justification by Faith is the major doctrine of salvation. God the Father designed it. The Son executed it and the Holy Spirit applies it to our understanding. This is the Gospel and its power: Jesus died on the Cross to appease the wrath of God and to save sinners. Jesus said: ‘It is finished’. You must believe and receive the finished work of Christ! By faith in Jesus Christ and His death on the Cross you become FORGIVEN, CLOTHED IN HIS imputed Righteousness and ACCPETED in the Beloved!
NOAH’S UNSINKABLE FAITH (Genesis 6-8; Heb 11:7)
“By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Heb 11:7)
Noah’s story is a picture of the terrible wrath of God. His mercy is there too but do not miss His Judgment! It was not just a cruise ride, a vacation on the sea. It is the Gospel! We are born with a sense of justice. We say: this is not fair! We know that evil should be punished! But sin has damaged our conscience and understanding! The manifestation of terrible sins is increasing! Murder, kidnapping, pedophilia, homosexuality, cheating etc. Very few people openly practice these terrible sins. But they cause great damage. We think that God is sleeping or unjust! But God is watching! He will surely punish sin!
Noah survived the greatest storm and flood the world has ever seen. He did it by faith. Favor from God must ignite faith in the heart. Do not take God’s Grace for granted! Noah knew God! He received the Word of God, His warning! He lived amid an exceedingly evil generation. But he did not backslide. Noah is an encouragement to us all.
*Noah’s Faith honors God’s Word! He takes God’s Word very seriously! He moved with godly fear to obey God’s warning! Noah has never seen a flood. He believed the Word about things not yet seen. God warned him that He will destroy all men and animals. He did not argue with God. He obeyed!
God told Noah to build an excessively big ark. It was 500 feet long (one and half of a football stadium) or about 20 basketball courts. It was 50 feet high from the ground (equal with 4 stories building). It could carry 450 semi- trailers or about 120,000 sheep. It was extremely large. Noah trembled and trusted and built the ark!
*Noah’s Faith is quick to obey God’s Word! It will take 120 years to build it! Noah was not a sailor. He was the only one who was building a boat. Nobody believed in him. He has never seen a flood. He was a lonely believer! But he did not backslide!
*Noah’s Faith reaches the lost! He convinced his family! They all believed Noah and together they built the ark. God “did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:5).
*Noah’s Faith rebukes the world! The world goes in the opposite direction! With every tree he cut, every nail he nailed, he condemned the world!
*Noah’s Faith received God’s righteousness (a gift he did not work for). It is standing before God fully accepted! God did not sent Jesus to condemn men! He sent Jesus to save them! The ark was not built to drown people but to save them! The people were already condemned! But the wicked people rejected Noah and his God!
The flood did not end the sin problem. Sinners outside the boat died. Sinners inside the boat were saved by God’s Grace! The flood reveals the magnitude of sin, wrath and holiness of God. Noah and his family did not deserve to be saved. It is the Grace of God. They carry the Seed from where Christ will come after the flesh! God saved and protected the Seed. This is amazing Grace! Noah built the giant ark for 100 years. People said he is a crazy man! This is how sinners perceive grace and faith! Like madness! When the animals were going by themselves to the ark, the sinners should have known that this is God! It was a warning that they did not heed! For the past 2000 years sinners go to Christ for salvation. Every Sunday morning the children of God go to church. The unbelievers still ignore the sign! Repent! Jesus came as the Lamb of God who died for sin! He will come again as the Lion who will judge sin! May we fear God! Worship the Lord!
THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL (34) THE DOCTRINE OF THE WRATH OF GOD (Romans 1:16-32)
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh continued preaching from the Book of Romans. The title of her sermon was ‘The Doctrine of the Wrath of God’. Her main text was taken from the Book of Romans chapter 1. “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.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest n them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore, God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Rom 1:16-25)
The wrath of God is God’s view or sin; God’s hatred of sin; God’s punishment of sin! The word ‘wrath’ means justified anger, and hatred; a passion that leads to punishment. God is Holy! God is Love! God protects His Glory! God hates anything that tries to destroy His holiness, Love and Glory! God hates sin! God’s wrath against sin is a manifestation of His jealous love toward His people! Therefore, to protect His glory and His people, God must punish sin! God created hell where the devil, the demons and all unbelievers will be forever. The unbelievers, the sinners, the children of darkness, will perish when God punishes sin! Understanding the doctrine of God’s wrath against sin will make you wiser. As a doctor I know that the right diagnosis leads to the right, successful treatment. Wrong, superficial diagnosis leads to wrong treatment and possibly death. The Gospel is power because it reveals the wrath of God. The Gospel also reveals the imputed righteousness of Christ received by us thru faith. Both this righteousness and the wrath of God were manifested at the Cross of Calvary. Both are revealed in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit! You cannot argue with unbelievers about the wrath of God or the salvation in Christ. They need God’s revelation. The word revelation means an unveiling; removing the cover and expose something behind it. Darkness and blindness are removed. The light of God must shine upon the object. “Once I was blind, but now I see…” This is called revelation! The natural men hate this doctrine. They imagine that God is a God of love who will not punish anybody. Paul introduced the doctrine of the wrath of God against sin from the first chapter of Romans. The preaching of the wrath of God is foundational in preaching the Gospel. All evangelism must start with preaching the sinfulness of sin, and God’s wrath against it. Never start with man’s needs. Always start with God and His glory! Many Christians ignore this doctrine. They say they believe it, but they deny it in practice. Many preachers ignore it too. They fear that people will leave their churches. But truth must be preached!
The wrath of God has been revealed and manifested in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. For example, God destroyed all people during the flood, leaving only Noah and his family. God confused and scattered the people at the tower of Babel. King David, a man after God’s heart, was punished for committing sin. King Nebuchadnezzar was humiliated for his pride. The people of God were sent to exile, in Babylon, for seventy years, because they refuse to submit to God. The Prophets and the Psalmists warned men about God’s anger against sin. Knowing God’s wrath will help us to repent of sin. God’s wrath is to be feared. It proves the difference between the Creator and the creation! May the fear of God that leads to wisdom and worship descend upon us! This is all for God’s glory! Only in the Book of Romans, the idea of God’s wrath against sin appears ten times: Rom 1:18; 2:5, 8; 3:5; 4:15; 5:9; 9:22; 12:19; 13:4,5. The wrath of God is just. God is the Creator and the Judge of all! God’s anger is not selfish, or erratic. God never ‘loses His temper’ like men do! God is always right! “God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day” (Ps 7:11). God has satisfied His wrath against sin at the Cross! Jesus died to fulfill the law: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23)As believers we do not fear condemnation. We cannot go to hell. A believer may backslide for a time, but he will surely repent before his death. God punishes sin even in a believer. It is called ‘chastisement’. But he cannot ‘lose heaven’. Salvation is an eternal sure gift of Grace! We should remember that one day, we shall stand before Christ, the King and the Judge of the universe who shall judge our deeds, our works. “For we must all appear before the judgment (Bema) seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor 5:10). That is why we desire to do all things to God’s glory!
HOW IS THE WRATH OF GOD REVEALED FROM HEAVEN?1-In the universal human experience of physical death! Death is a manifestation of God’s wrath against sin! Every man dies, the believers and the unbelievers. Spiritually, there is Death in Adam, and Eternal Life in Christ! “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification” (Rom 5:12-16). But for the believers, death has lost its sting, terror and power. “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Cor 15:55-57). Because of the Cross, God has removed the sting of the snake called death. Death is a defeated toothless enemy. Death is not a master anymore, but a servant! In Christ, death has become your servant! Death serves you by opening the door to heaven!
2-In the Vanity of life! Vanity is excessive pride, big dreams that leads to something useless, to total disappointment! “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8:20, 21). Life is hard! Life is ‘not fair’. People work and suffer to get rich and then they die. Once they die, they cannot take money with them. “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (Ecc 1:2). Only God plants hope in futility! For the believer, there is no vanity for at the Cross, vanity is redeemed! “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28). As children of God, we are children of purpose! We have a reason to live and to die! Our purpose is to give glory to God and to become like Jesus!
3-In human degradation! On the natural, without the purifying and restraining power of the Holy Spirit, sinners are getting worse. Old unbelievers are full of regrets, torments, and bitterness. We, the believers, hate, fight and conquer sin! We want to please God who warns us against sin and who chastises us as a Father disciplines His son. This is love! For the believers, like with old wine, life is getting sweeter with age. In all things we give thanks to God! My praise belongs to You! Worship the Lord!
“And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him… Love does not envy” (Ac 7:9; 1Cor 13:4)
Envy is defined as an unpleasant angry feeling or a bitter longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities or success. Envy is the desire to have a beautiful thing belonging to someone else. Envy wants to take the wealth that belongs to another and leave that one poor. Envy is wicked. Envy is one of the works of the flesh. It is the desire that others should not have what you do not have! Envy says: ‘If I don’t go to heaven, you should not go there too; if I don’t have Jesus, you too should miss Him.’ Envy is criminal. Envy is sin. Envy is deceptive. When envy rises in your heart, you may miss its true identity. Pray that the Holy Spirit opens your eyes to see any sin that still dwells in your flesh. Chose to live a life of sacrificial holy love. That life will kill the root of envy in your flesh! Give God all the glory!
MY TESTIMONY This incident happened about 20 years ago. I still remember the moment and the place when the Holy Spirit convicted me of the sin of envy. Somebody told me that a woman I did not like got promoted at her job. Something like a tornado started turning my stomach. I felt sick. I felt angry. I felt like vomiting. The feeling was so strong that I forgot about my ‘enemy’ and I prayed asking God: ‘What is this sickness, Lord?’ The answer came immediately: ‘It is the demon of envy that you have allowed to stay in you’. I was shocked. I thought that God will tell me it was poison, or typhoid fever or high blood pressure… But envy? I was sure that I never envied anyone. I was proud thinking myself free from the shame of envy. I thought that I am a woman who always minds her business. If it was a human being who confronted me with the sin of envy I could have argued. But it was the Holy Spirit who spoke the Word. I could not argue. I just knelt down in my kitchen, among pots and pans yet to be washed, and I prayed for forgiveness of sins, of envy in particular. I also prayed for deliverance. Something ugly left me that day. A troublesome burden fell down from my back. I gained a new peace, a new wisdom, a new strength and a new courage to pray for others. Since then, I am free. Occasionally, that familiar demon tried to deceive me and come back to my heart. But the Holy Spirit helped me to identify it before it came too close. God helped me to raise my shield of faith against it! The victory is permanent! This testimony is to the glory of God!
I want to encourage you to do the same. In the name of Jesus, be free! Be filled with the Holy Spirit! Be satisfied with what God gives to you! Do not compare yourself with others. Live a life of thanksgiving! Confess and repent of envy! There is enough room for you, for all of us, at the foot of the Cross of Christ! Glory!
In Christ I declare: I shall always love God and His people! I shall never envy! I shall be satisfied with God’s provision for my life! I shall be grateful for the blessings God bestows on me and my family! I shall pray for others! I shall be grateful for the blessings God gives to others! I live a life of thanksgiving! In Jesus’ name, Amen!
(From my diary, April, 2019)
I praying and my daughter, Favour, worshipping God, during last Sunday’ service!
THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL (33)
THE ETERNAL DEBT OF LOVE
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh continued preaching about the power of the Gospel. Her main text was taken from the Books of Romans: “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established— that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. 15 So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” … Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Rom 1:11-17; 13:7,8).
Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh said that the Apostle Paul wrote the Book of Romans ‘to impart’ a spiritual gift to the believers in Rome. To impart is to communicate knowledge from a great supply; to transfer revelation, to transfuse anointing from one to another. By the preaching of God’s Word, thru the power of the Holy Spirit, you can impart wisdom, anointing, revelation and love to others. To be able to impart, you must be born again, Spirit filled, spiritually generous, and willing to share your heart, your very life, with others. Apostle Paul felt like a debtor. A debtor is someone who owes something (money for example) to another. He is under obligation to pay his debt. If not, he is in trouble.
Why does Paul say that he is a debtor to all? Paul has something wonderful to give to others. The Gospel! The Gospel can be ‘imparted’ to others. That is the power of the Gospel! A Christian is defined as somebody who has eternal life, and he is able to impart it to others thru the preaching of the Gospel and thru his testimony!
Why does Paul preach the Gospel? Because Jesus called him to do so! Secondly, because he loves God and feels a sense of gratitude to God! He serves God by preaching His Gospel to all people. All need the Gospel! Paul knows the Gospel and he is ready to give it to all (men and women, educated or not, rich or poor, old and young). A preacher is not supposed to preach only to some religious group of people. All people need the Gospel. Paul preaches the same Gospel to all. All men are born sinners. They are dying. The Christian is like a doctor who can administer the right treatment even on the patient’s dying hour. The results follow. Life manifests! A preacher should not be influenced by the size or the type of congregation. He must preach and impart to all. Preach to the whole man: touch his mind, emotions and will! The Gospel itself is a wonder of supernatural power and life! The preaching of the Gospel brings tears of repentance and tears of joy! It is a wonder of transformation! This is the power of the Gospel! May we preach the Gospel to all! May we pay the debt of love that can never be repaid. Thru preaching the Gospel, Love has fulfilled the Law of God!
THE PARABLE OF TWO DEBTORS (Luke 7:36-59)
This is the miracle of salvation in the life of a sinful woman, a prostitute. She is saved by the Blood of Jesus and thru the tears of her faith! In the Word of God there is a warning not to make friends with an adulteress, with a wayward woman, or a prostitute. Thru her sinful trade, many men have backslid, and some have died (PV 7). That is why men rejected her in public, even the men who ‘used’ her in private. This woman who came to the feet of Jesus was the most infamous prostitute in the town. But against all odds, the miracle happened. She became saved. Jesus is called “The Friend of sinners” (Matt 11:19). Jesus was not afraid to touch and be touched by leprous people and prostitutes. What manner of Man is Jesus? Without the Holy Spirit you cannot understand Jesus! This woman’s river of tears is a proof of true repentance and a new heart! What is the difference between a religious man (like Simeon) and a repentant woman (like this former prostitute)? Simeon was offended that Jesus gave attention to this sinner. He is proud and self-righteous. He invited Jesus to his house so that Jesus will acknowledge his good religious deeds. He wanted the approval of Jesus. This woman with her tears, ‘spoiled his show’. He became angry. He was also jealous. Jesus should not bless her, he thought! He is the one to be blessed! He was sure that a sinful woman like this cannot be blessed with salvation and peace. According to Simeon, God should forget this woman and send her to hell. She is called ‘trash’. She cannot be saved or blessed by God. How foolish he was… So ignorant of God’s love and grace. Jesus knew Simon’s heart. He told him a parable of two debtors: One owned him one million naira and the other one thousand naira. They both could not pay their debts. The rich man cancelled both debts. Who will love him more? The one who owed the bigger debt, Simeon said. True! Jesus said that greater sins, means grater forgiveness, and that leads to greater love. The former prostitute gave all to Jesus! Unashamedly, she totally surrendered to Him even her broken heart and useless life. But Simeon, was still holding back the repentance, asking if Jesus is truly a prophet … Jesus said to the woman: your faith has saved you! Go in peace! This is peace with God beyond human understanding! Grace is a royal decree! Thru faith, peace came, and a soul was just set free from the cage of sin and death! This is an eternal salvation! Money cannot buy it. Men may be jealous, but they cannot steal it! Religion will not give you peace! Only Jesus can change the town’s greatest harlot and make her into the greatest worshipper!
The Gospel changes everything!!!! The Gospel gives you peace with God!!! This is what our city needs! Give them (not religion) but Jesus! Let us pray for Revival!!! Let us preach the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected! Love who freely died that others may live! This is the eternal debt of LOVE! For there is no story greater than that! Worship the Lord!
Jesus said: “How often I wanted to gather your children together [around Me], as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling” (Mt 23:27; AMP)
Christianity is like ‘a native’ hen with her chicks. Have you seen one? I heard that the mother hen has four types of sound when she calls her chicks. The first one is the sound of ‘come and eat’. When she finds a nice meal on the ground, she never eats it alone. She calls her children to eat with her. She also trains them to find food for themselves. The second sound is the call of ‘Play is over! Come and sleep’. They come under her wings and they sleep peacefully until tomorrow. The third sound is the call of protection from danger. When she sees a hawk flying around, she calls them saying: “Come immediately! Now!” She calls them to come under her wings, to hide in the shelter under the threat is gone. If the hawk comes down, she fights for her chicks even unto death. Fourthly, there is the sound of love. She says: “Come my beloved! I miss you! I love you! You are the best!” Love is more than food, sleep or money! Love is the extra, the spice of life! The chicks are well fed, they have played enough with each other, there is no danger, just peace. There is no problem! But the mother hen knows that her children need a reminder that they are loved and that all is well with them. Finally, let me not forget! The cock is there too, covering them all with his strength, leadership and love!
Religion is like ‘agric’ chicken. Have you seen a poultry? The eggs are all the same. The chicks hatch under the artificial light of a bulb. These chickens they look ‘cute’ but that is all. They are foolish. They do not know their parents. They live only to be sold and eaten. They are somebody’s business to make money. The saddest part of the story is that the ‘agric’ chicks will never know the sound of love. Many churches are like this: religious ‘business centers.’ There are many people who go to church, they are deeply religious, they say that they are saved but they are not. They feel lost, sad and lonely even in the church. But they hide their feelings. Jesus is calling you… Love is calling you… Are you willing to go under the everlasting arms of Jesus? Are you willing to receive and give love to Him? For He loved you first! And only love sets you free indeed!
May the Holy Spirit lead you into all truth! For Truth is a Person and His name is Jesus Christ! Jesus died and rose again, for you! Blessed are you if you are truly born again! Protected by God the Father, Loved by the Lover of your soul and Led by the Holy Spirit. May your heart sing! May your liver smile! For there is no greater love than this! Give God praise this morning!
(The picture bellow is from the internet)
This picture was taken exactly eight years ago (21-04-2013). We were building the sanctuary. I and this young sister called Pat were on top of the roof. This is before the roof was added. You can see Urhobo College at the background of the picture. This is what I wrote then:
“This young sister, her name is Pat. She works very hard at the church’ site during all her holidays from school. She does the same work as the rest of the (men) brothers. She asks not for any special privileges just because she is a girl. God bless her and all the servants of God who quietly work behind the scenes and faithfully serve the King of kings!”
OUR GRANDDAUGHTER JOSSLYN LEIGH
Is she not so beautiful? To God be all the glory!
“Lord Jesus, when my eye confronts my heart, and I realize that You have filled my heart with Your love, I am breathless with amazement. Once my heart was so small in its vision, so narrow in its compassion, so weak in its zeal for truth. Then You chose to enter my heart; and now in my heart I can see You, I can love all Your people, and I have courage to proclaim the truth of Your gospel to anyone and everyone. Lord Jesus, like wax before a fire, my heart has melted under the heat of Your love.”
These words were written by Count Nikolaus von Zinzendorf (1700-1760). He was born in a noble wealthy family in Austria. He was a German religious and social reformer, bishop and founder of the Moravian Church who sent many missionaries all over the world. Count Von Zinzendorg was a major figure of 18th century Protestantism. He was strongly against slavery. He left his exalted court position in Germany to become a spiritual leader with the Moravians. He composed many hymns. He was a great preacher of the Gospel. He suffered much persecution for his faith. The Moravians influenced John Wesley to become born again, planting the seeds of revival all over the world.
THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL (32)
THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF THE GOSPEL
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh continued preaching about the power of the Gospel. Her main text was taken from the Books of Romans: “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established— that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:1-17; NKJ)
We remind ourselves that our primary purpose as believers is to give glory to God, to worship Him! The second purpose is to become like Jesus! This is the foundation of our faith! The Book of Romans was written by the Apostle Paul to the Christians in Rome, who were mostly Gentile believers. The Holy Spirit inserted the Book of Romans immediately after the Book of Acts because of its importance in presenting the major doctrines of salvation. In the history of the Church, God has used the Book of Romans more than any other Book in the Bible to ignite revival. Many great men and women of God have been converted thru the Book of Romans.
“Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God” (Rom 1:1).
The Gospel is called ‘the Gospel of God”. It was invented by God. It belongs to God. It is God’s property. He is jealous over His Gospel! Do not ‘mess’ with it! Apostle Paul, formerly called Saul of Tarsus (4-64, AD) is the author of the Book of Romans. The first word in the Book of Romans is ‘Paul’. God has prepared His vessel in a special way. Even the unbelievers admit that he is one of the greatest minds among men. He was born in Tarsus, one of the three main cities of Greek culture (after Athens, Greece and Alexandria, Egypt). Paul was well acquainted with the Greek poets and philosophers. Paul was a Jew. He went to Jerusalem and was trained by the most famous professor of the Old Testament at that time: Gamaliel. Paul knew the scriptures and how the Jews think. He became an advocate for the Law. He also became a Pharisee, one of the best. Paul was born a free Roman citizen. This was a great honor. He knew the Roman law. Also, he knew his rights as a Roman citizen, and he used this privilege from time to time. He was extremely intelligent and zealous to do good religious works. He believed that Jesus was a blasphemer and he hated Him. He persecuted the Christians and put them in prison. In God’s time he had a dramatic crisis conversion on his way to Damascus. He saw the Resurrected Christ in person who commissioned him to preach the Gospel he once hated. He became an Apostle, a Teacher, a Pastor and an Evangelist. He died in Rome, beheaded by Emperor Nero. He wrote three quarters of all the Books in the New Testament. God used his background after his conversion to argue with the Jews against Judaism. Many Jews were confused at the beginning how to combine the faith in God in the Old Testament and the New. Paul even opposed Apostle Peter when he made a mistake becoming afraid of the Jewish leaders. Apostle Paul was used by God to preach mostly to the Gentiles who did not know the Old Testament. Paul understood the mind, the culture of both Jew and Gentile. Paul is an example of how God uses the natural gifts of a man who becomes saved. This is a good lesson: Surrender your natural gifts to God!
THE PURPOSE OF WRITING THE LETTER
“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established— that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me” (Romans 1:11, 12).
Paul was a wonderful teacher and pastor. He did not write the Book of Romans to professors or lawyers. He wrote it to the mostly simple Gentile believers living in Rome. The purpose was to establish them spiritually. He wanted to impart some spiritual gifts, to give them a fresh revelation about the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected. He wanted to increase their faith, for them to become spiritually mature and fruitful. This is the effect of the Word of God in general and especially the Book of Romans, on all who believe! Conversion is not the end of your story. It is the door, the beginning. Salvation is free because Jesus died and paid it all on the Cross. But spiritual maturity is not automatic. There is a price to pay. You must study the Word of God and pray! To be established it means: strength to stand, to be confirmed, fixed and firm on a permanent foundation; to spiritually mature and fruitful; to gain full recognition and acceptance from God and man! The opposite of being established is to be destroyed, uprooted, and confused.
THE MAJOR THEME OF THIS LETTER
The major theme of the Book of Romans is the Gospel of Christ crucified and resurrected. The Book of Romans is divided in two subsections: In Chapters 1-11 we discover the doctrines related to salvation and in chapters 12-16 we find the application of these doctrines. Both are equally important. Doctrine is like the skeleton. It gives structure and strength to the body. The application is like the muscles and the internal organs. It gives life to the body!
The word Gospel means ‘Good news’. What is that? God has done something new! God has sent His only Begotten and Beloved Son to take human flesh upon Himself, to teach men God’s will. On the Cross, Jesus died for our sins. Anyone who believes in the death of the Son of God as atonement for His sins, shall be saved from the judgment of sin, which is death. Anyone who does not believe that Christ died for him, he is already condemned. Salvation to man comes by faith in Christ alone! No one is saved by good religious works.
This is the major doctrine in the Book of Romans: Justification by faith! In other words, we are saved: by Grace alone, by faith alone, thru the Word of God alone, in Christ alone, and for the glory of God alone! The Holy Spirit applies the truth of the Word of God to our spirits so that we can believe. Man must repent of his sins and become born again! Salvation is a miracle! The Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected is the Power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. Faith means trusting in God. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and increases ‘from faith to faith’. Apostle Paul explains that ‘justification by faith’ is the only method God could have used to save sinful man. God is holy and He hates sin. He is also merciful and loving. God cannot forgive sin just by His Word. Jesus, the sinless Son of God died on behalf of sinners so that they may live.
The people for whom He died are called ‘the elect, or the chosen’. God has decreed, even before the foundation of the world, that some people will be saved. Apostle Paul explains that the New Testament method of salvation by faith is the same as during the Old Testament. Men like Abraham and King David also lived by faith. God saves by His Grace alone! God’s will cannot be frustrated. God decided to place the believers in Christ. The doctrine of the unity with Christ is foundational in understanding salvation. We were crucified with Him, died with Him, were buried with Him and resurrected with Him. We now are seated in Christ and with Christ, in heavenly places. Salvation is sure. A sinner who became born again thru faith in Christ can have total assurance of his salvation. He cannot lose his salvation! The Apostle Paul also describes the process of sanctification. Our soul and spirit are already saved. But sin is not removed from the mortal body. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body. In this way, we mature spiritually. Salvation is first to the glory of God! Secondly, is for our good.
This is the general view and understanding of the Book of Romans. You must have faith to feel its power! If by reading it you are not able to worship God and give Him all the glory for your salvation, then you have not understood it well. May the Holy Spirit open our eyes to see King Jesus, full of Grace and Truth, seated on His throne! Glory! Worship the Lord!
BREAKING THE GROUND @FATHER’S HOUSE BIBLE CHURCH;17-04-2010
Eleven years ago we gathered to pray for this land, to start laying the foundation for the new sanctuary of Father’s House Bible Church, Warri/ Effurun! We poured in the ground: milk, honey, water, olive oil and wine. Each of these is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. I testify that the Holy Spirit has led us all the way. He is present in each service. What a journey of grace and glory! The worship continues forever! To God alone be all the glory!
(Apart from Tali (Pastor Richmond Sisan Leigh), and I, do you recognize any of the brethren present that day?)
Our youngest daughter Jemine and her dear husband Matthew Oakes are expecting a baby girl! Tali (in heaven) and I (on earth) we shall be grandparents again! This baby has already brought so much joy to us who still miss her grandfather! I testify: God is good! God is faithful! To God be all the glory!
(I use my joy as a point of contact that God will answer the prayers of many who desire children. With God, nothing is impossible!)
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THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL (31) JESUS CHRIST, THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh continued preaching about the power of the Gospel. Her main text was taken from the Books of Romans and Hebrews: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith…“The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Rom 1:16, 17; Ps 118:22-24)
The Book of Romans was written by the Apostle Paul to the Christians in Rome, who were mostly Gentile believers, The Book of Romans is not the first Book written by Paul (The first Letter He wrote was 1 Thessalonians). The Holy Spirit inserted the Book of Romans immediately after the Book of Acts because of its importance in presenting the major doctrines of salvation. In the history of the Church, God has used the Book of Romans more than any other Book in the Bible to ignite revival. Many great men and women of God have been converted thru the Book of Romans.
*St Augustine of Hippo (354-430) was the greatest Christian in the time between Apostle Paul and the Protestant Revolution. He was born in Algeria, Africa. His mother was a committed Christian who prayed for him every day. His father was a pagan who became saved on his death bed. He was a highly intelligent and well-educated man. He was a great Philosopher and a Professor but lived an immoral life. He was an alcoholic and a fornicator. One day, he heard a child’s voice telling him: ‘Pick up and read!’. He saw a Bible. He opened it at Romans 13. He read: “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:13, 14). Immediately, the Holy Spirit touched his heart and he believed. He repented of all his sins. He became born again. He wrote many Christians books. There was a man called Pelagius who preached error about the Christian faith. Pelagius was an English man who moved to Rome. He said that the original sin did not pollute human nature and that men have the free will to achieve human perfection without God’s Grace. He said that babies are born sinless. Augustine withstood him and using the doctrines of the Book of Romans proved him wrong. As you can see, God used Augustine when the church was still ‘a baby’ to defend it and keep its faith pure.
* John Chrysostom (347-407), the archbishop of Constantinople, was one of the early Church fathers. He wrote many books defending the Faith. He said about the Book of Romans: “Romans is the chief part of the New Testament and the very purest Gospel”. He memorized the Book of Romans and he encouraged all believers to do the same. He said that the more you study it the sweeter and more powerful it becomes!
*Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a Roman Catholic Monk and a Professor or Theology. In 1515 he was teaching his students the Book of Romans. He went to the Vatican to offer a sacrifice of humility. As he was climbing the stairs on his knees, the Holy Spirit illumined his mind and he saw that salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone. The Holy Spirit revealed to him Romans 1:17. He believed, and he was saved. He said that he felt as he was born again and that he entered thru the gates into Paradise. He led the Protestant Revolution. The Roman Catholic Church was divided. Many evangelical denominations started from that time on.
*John Bunyan (1628-1688) was born in England. He was born in a poor family and he was not well educated. He wrote the most famous book next to the Bible. It is called The Pilgrim Progress. which is the no one best seller He was a rebellious youth. But God touched him, and he got converted while reading the Bible, especially this verse: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38, 39). Because of his conversion, he suffered much. He was sent to jail where he wrote The Pilgrim Progress. This is a lesson taken from his life: while secular education is good, the greatest gift is salvation. The Holy Spirit will empower you to be a man (woman) of God. Another lesson is this: preaching doctrine is good, but it must be accompanied by application!
*John Wesley (1703-1791) was an English theologian and evangelist. He was the leader of a revival movement within the Church of England known as Methodism. He composed many Christian songs. He came from a Christian family. He was traveling to Georgia, US, to be a pastor there. During the journey there was a great storm. The ship was tossed thru and from. He met a group of German Moravian Christians who were truly born again. They were not afraid of death. They continue to sing choruses and have fellowship even during the storm. That is when John Wesley knew that he was not born again. He came back to England and he visited the church from where these Moravian Christians came from. They preached to him and prayed for him that he may be saved. Back to England, he became troubled. He was a pastor but not saved. He was invited to a home where some few brethren, every week, did Bible study. One of them stood to read Martin Luther’s Commentary on the Book of Romans. Suddenly, John Wesley felt the Holy Spirit coming to him. He said: “On the 24th of May 1738, about a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and He saved me from the law of sin and death.” John Wesley became a mighty warrior for the cause of Christ! He had problems with the Anglican Church because of his new doctrines. He never left the Anglican Church but after his death, his followers founded the Methodist denomination. John Wesley said: “The world is my parish”—a phrase that later became a slogan of Methodist missionaries. Wesley, in fact, never slowed down until he died. He preached and prayed to the end! He traveled over 4,000 miles annually, ridding on a horse, preaching some 40,000 sermons in his lifetime. Glory!
I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL!
This is the major theme of the Book of Romans: the Gospel of Christ; justification by faith alone! The Gospel is something everybody needs. This is because we are all born sinners. Christ Crucified is the only way God can forgive man. There is no other way. The rich and the poor, the educated and illiterate, are all the same before the Cross. Why did Paul say that he is not ashamed of the Gospel? There is a great temptation to be silent about the Gospel. The world hates and mocks it. Why? Man is born a sinner. He is ignorant of God and of his condition. He takes pride in education and moral achievements. He does not want to hear that the only way to heaven is to trust in a poor ‘Carpenter’, who was killed on a cross among thieves. The Gospel has no attraction to both Jews and Gentiles. It is a stumbling block and foolishness to them. The world loves philosophy, poems and literature. Not the preaching of the Gospel! The rich educated men hate it the most. Intellectual pride is the greatest stronghold against the Gospel. Many preachers have compromised the Gospel and they present Christ as a Hero for humanity, a great Teacher or a Helper during troubles. They avoid the Cross and what it represents! They are ashamed of the Cross. This ‘edited’ version of the Gospel is called ‘another Gospel’. It has no power to save or change men. To preach another Gospel brings God’s curse upon the preacher (Gal 1:6-12). The true Gospel humbles men. It reveals to them that they are born sinners; that they cannot save themselves. The natural men hate to be humbled. That is why they hate the Gospel. They want to take pride in saving themselves thru good works or religion. They hate to give all glory to God. The Gospel is not man’s idea, another philosophy or teaching invented by men. The Gospel is unique. It comes from heaven, from God. It is the way revealed from God on how a sinner should be saved. The righteousness offered to men is totally from God. It cannot be bought with money or by man’s effort. It comes by faith in the Gospel, Christ crucified and resurrected. Why should we not be ashamed of the Gospel? For only one reason: It is the only power of God unto salvation for all who believe! This is the reason that kills all fears of rejection and mockery from men!
JESUS CHRIST THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps 118:22-24)Psalm 118 is the most quoted Psalm in the New Testament. Let us exalt Christ, the Chief Cornerstone! Christ’ resurrection confirmed His power to be God and Savior, as the Son of Man and Son of God. The fear of God must replace the fear of man! Because Christ arose, His mercy endures forever! What is the Chief Cornerstone? The builders must choose one stone to be use for the foundation. They will say ‘this one is not good… this one is good’. Since ancient times, builders have used cornerstones in their construction projects. A cornerstone was the principal stone, usually placed at the corner of an edifice, to guide the workers in their course. The cornerstone was usually one of the largest, the most solid, and the most carefully tested of any in the edifice. Once the cornerstone was set, it became the basis for determining every measurement in the remaining construction; everything was aligned to it. The Bible describes Jesus as the Chief Cornerstone that His church would be built upon. He is foundational. As the cornerstone of the building of the church, Jesus is our standard of measure and alignment. This stone called Jesus was rejected by the builders. But God set it in the highest place of prominence. Jesus went to the lowest and God raised Him to the highest place! From death to life! His story, the Gospel, is marvelous in our eyes! Because of His death and resurrection, His mercy towards us endures forever! Peter, stood before the Sanhedrin, after doing a miracle, and boldly, he said: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:8-13). The Pharisees saw that Peter and the other disciples were un-educated men but that they have been with Jesus! To be with Jesus!!! This is the greatest recommendation for ministry! Why is God’s work marvelous in our eyes? Jesus and His Gospel have been rejected by men! Jesus humbled Himself so low and God raised Him so high! This is marvelous! It is not just learning a doctrine, but it is worship; it involves our emotions! It humbles us and gives us hope! Men choose handsome, socially privileged, well educated, and famous men for positions of authority! As a Man, Jesus was none of this! Men do not choose a poor carpenter to be their King or God! Jesus was born in a manger (not in a palace). The first smell baby Jesus felt was the smell of animals. His ministry was a little more than three years. He chose simple people to be his disciples. His glory was veiled before the world. The Son of God that had all that glory in heaven, set it aside and chose to live like an ordinary man. This is marvelous! Why did He set aside His glory? Because He loved His own. He did not want them to fall in love with His glory, or His riches. Jesus needed to die as a Man for men! His glory as God was always there but it was hidden by the flesh, in the body God prepared for Him! Jesus was like “The Secret Millionaire”- movie! This attitude is the opposite of the natural man’s lifestyle! As sinners, we want to look better than we are! We reject the strategy of Jesus, the ways of God! Paul preached in weakness but with the power of the Holy Spirit. “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Cor 2:4). Salvation, healing cannot be bought! The natural man has always rejected the Gospel. The preaching of the Word is power! Nations have changed by the preaching of the Gospel! Many have been saved! The Gospel gives glory to God and prepares men for heaven! It ignites worship! It brings revival! In heaven we shall worship God forever! This is the purpose of man! Jesus prayed before He died so that the glory that He had with the Father will be restored to Him. He never lost His glory, but it was hidden, covered by human body and ordinary clothes. “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:4, 5). The story of Jesus is the power of the Gospel. It is not enough for you to know it in your mind. It must move you! You must feel its holy transforming power. Are you born again? If not, then surrender your life to the Lord Jesus Christ! If yes, let us fall at His feet and adore our King! Worship the Lord!
“You saved the best until now, Lord Jesus” (John 2:10)
All marriages, no matter how strong, will eventually ‘finish’ their wine of joy and passion and end up ‘dry’: no hatred, no love, just ‘water- surviving’ arrangement. There is a moment when you discover that all the love has been exhausted on daily errands and the boring routine of life. There is a moment when fear will grip the heart that your secret relationship failure will become a public display; ‘They have no more wine…’That place of loneliness, disappointment and shame is the moment for the true Friend to step in and help. The best marriage counselors are not found seated at the table waiting to be served. They are found in the background, among the servants, who know the secret of brewing the miracle of supernatural love that never dies. Once you taste from the latter wine, once you are willing to allow God to love your spouse through your heart, your marriage will receive the stamp of heaven and will survive divorce… in fact, will defeat even death. Never forget the power of the latter rain! That is where the glory dwells!
In Christ I declare: My marriage belongs to God! Jesus is the Lord of my marriage, the Red Cord that can never be broken! I will never lose hope in my marriage for my spouse is a gift from God and God never makes mistakes! My marriage shall last until death will ‘part’ us! Nothing else will be able to destroy it before death! I hate divorce! Like the wine, my marriage shall be better as we get older! Holy romance shall always ‘bubble’ in my marriage! The best is yet to come!In Jesus’ name, Amen!
PS. My beloved husband, Pastor Richmond Sisan Leigh and I were married for 47 years. In July 2020, he suddenly went to heaven. The Lord Jesus Christ is now my husband. He has given me supernatural peace, strength, courage and joy. He who changed water into wine is mine forever! This new wine will never end… In the picture taken some years ago, my husband and I… To God alone be all the glory!
THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL (29)
THE DOCTRINE OF THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST AND OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh continued preaching about the power of the Gospel. Her main text was taken from the Books of Romans and Hebrews: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith” …. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you … For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (Rom 1:16, 7; 8:10-11; 8:22-25)
We live in spiritual season called ‘The Last Days’. This season started with the first coming of Christ, two thousand years ago. There is a day called ‘The Last Day’ (also called the Judgment Day, or the Day of Redemption, or the Day of the Lord Jesus Christ). At that Last Day Christ will come again. This is His second coming to earth, to judge and to reward. He will come visibly, with His angels and the souls and the spirits of the believers who have been in heaven. The believers shall receive new bodies. The dead in Christ shall rise first, receive their new spiritual bodies and now complete, they shall rise and meet the Lord in the air. This holy process is less than a second! In a twinkling of an eye! The believers who are alive at that time shall be changed instantly, without passing thru death. They too shall receive their new bodies and meet the Lord in the air. This is not a spiritual resurrection but a bodily resurrection. Then, the believers shall be complete, like Jesus, united forever with Him! This event is also called the Rapture or the Blessed Hope! It signifies the complete salvation of the believer, body, soul and spirit! (By the way, nothing is said about the body resurrection of the unbelievers!).
The Second Coming of Christ has been promised by Him. It is our Blessed Hope! His second coming to earth shall be hugely different than His first coming. It will be sudden (like a thief in the night; 1Thessolanians 5:2), Bodily, Visible, Powerful and Glorious. “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17)
The doctrine of the Second of Coming of Christ and the redemption of the bodies is much neglected. Many pastors do not preach these doctrines. They are tired to wait for this Blessed Hope. Fear of death is another factor. Because these scriptures are read at burials, many believers associate them with death. They avoid reading them. Also, they think that these scriptures are not ‘practical’ enough to live a happy life in this world. Another reason is this: many prophesies have been made about the end times. All have failed. That is why the pastors avoid this subject. But this is the deception of the devil. The purpose of this doctrine is for us to have greater hope, to be serious with God and to worship Him even more!
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for THE BLESSED HOPE, and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Tit 2:11-14). The Grace of God teaches and helps us how to die to sin. The doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ is the greatest incentive to sanctification, to holy living. As we look ahead to our Blessed Hope, we purify ourselves as He is pure, and we are ready to serve Him even more!
At the last day, when our Lord comes again, we the believers shall receive new bodies, spiritual bodies like Christ. We shall rise from the earth and meet the Lord to be with Him forever. This is not just a spiritual resurrection. It is bodily. It is not just the continuation of the spirit but the body as well. In the ancient world, once a king comes to visit a city, his friends come to welcome him, while the wicked ones, his enemies, they hide behind, afraid of his judgement! Our Lord was born on the earth and He died on this earth. Man, too was made of dust, dies and is buried in the earth. But at the resurrection, having our spiritual bodies, we shall meet the Lord in the air and not on the ground. At the resurrection, we shall be ‘caught up’ in the air. The word ‘caught up’ means to be violently snatched as by robbery. The angels will snatch us and take us on the clouds to rise and meet the Lord! Encourage each other with these words. The word ‘Encourage’ is the Greek word ‘parakletos’, the same as for the Holy Spirit. It means a Helper, a Friend who comes close to help, encourage and strengthen you. Therefore, preaching about the second coming and our resurrection, releases the anointing of the Holy Spirit in a special powerful way! When our Lord shall come again, the believers who have died (slept in the Lord) shall arise first. The believers who will be alive at that time shall immediately change from the natural body to the spiritual body, without passing thru death. The spiritual body shall rise thru the power of the clouds. Our Lord was raised by the clouds (Acts 1:9). In the same way, the believers will rise lifted by the clouds of glory. This is a reminder of the doctrine of the unity of Christ and His body, to the glory of God!
The frustration of the natural creation corrupted by sin has affected us. But our hope is that one day, Jesus will come and change our bodies to be like Him. This revelation will produce faith and perseverance. We know that our future is better than the past. No more fear of death! (Rom 8:22-25). “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Phil 3:20-21) Our spiritual bodies will be like the body of our Lord! ‘Lowly body’ is also translated the weak mortal body, vile (KJ), the Body of humiliation. Our new bodies will be totally free from sin and its polluting effects. It encourages us to stand firm in the faith, have the hope of glory and serve Jesus forever! These scriptures deliver us from all inferiority complexes concerning our bodies, from the fear of sickness, depression, fear of the future, old age and death! We must preach the complete Word of God. The preaching of the doctrine of the second coming releases a special anointing to comfort and encourage the brethren. It tells us that our future is better than our present! I may not know what the immediate future may hold, but I know the ultimate glorious future and best of all, I know Him who holds my future! Glory! Worship the Lord!
“Whoever does not persevere and carry his (her) own cross and come after (follow) Me cannot be My disciple.” (LK 14:27; AMP)
This is the true gospel we preach: Christ died and rose again with and for me! It is my holy duty and highest privilege to follow my Master everywhere He goes! Like the sheep follows her shepherd, so I follow my Lord Jesus Christ! I do not know the way! But I know Him who is the Way! I do not know what tomorrow may bring! But I know and follow Him who not only knows my tomorrow, but who has designed it for His glory and for my good! I refuse to listen to strange (sweet) voices coming from ‘the bush’ of life. My ears are circumcised. Blood surrounds them and seals them. They are tuned to respond only to Him who died that I may live! I carry my cross daily. The weight of my cross stabilizes my emotions, balances my desires, kills my impatience and helps me to become strong. Without my cross, the flesh will manifest. I will become overactive and foolish. Just as I pray for my daily bread, so I need my cross daily. Both bread and cross they give me strength to live and courage to overcome all obstacles.
Dear lambs, let us follow our Shepherd! It is well with us! Glory to the Lamb who was slain that we, the sheep of His Pasture, may live!
THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL (29)
FAITH CHOOSES TRUE RICHES
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh continued preaching about the power of the Gospel. Her main text was taken from the Books of Romans and Hebrews: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16, 17). Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh said that when the Gospel takes hold of you it changes you, radically and eternally. It makes you free! Faith is born! Faith is wise! Faith chooses the best God has to offer you. The Gospel is the story of Jesus, the good news proclaimed that Jesus died and rose again for sinners like you and me. The Gospel is not about the power! It is itself the power of God, able to change a sinner into a saint. There are only two places where there is no hope: Heaven (because you do not need it there; you are fulfilled) and Hell. Faith sees hope! Once saving faith enters your heart, you see all things, life and death, poverty and riches, thru a new perspective.
We continued to study Abram, the Father of them who believe in the only Living God. His faith is increasing. (Genesis 14:11-24; 15:1). Lot chose Sodom. Some kings attacked Sodom and defeated the city. The king of Sodom and all the citizens of Sodom, including Lot, are taken captives. Abram hears if this and with only 318 of his trained servants he defeated the kings. Coming back from a far distance, from Damascus, he meets two kings: the king of Sodom and the king of Salem, Melchizedek. Observe how Abram’s faith is growing. God rewards Abram’s faith!
The King of Sodom comes first. He represents the world. Sodom was known for sexual sins, (homosexuality). But that was not the only sin. The Sodomites were wicked, proud and selfish. “Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: “She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore, I took them away as I saw fit… Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness (prosperous ease), while the poor and needy suffered outside her door” (Eze16:49, 50). Everybody who worked in Sodom were slaves. Abram wins the battle and brings back the spoil of war (cattle, clothes, gold, silver etc). The King of Sodom wanted to make friends with Abram. He offers to Abram goods taken from the spoil of war. But Abram refused to make alliance with this king. Be careful! The world offers great goods to buy your friendship. But this is a snare! “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? “Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). By faith, Abram rejected that offer! It is not easy to reject money! In Egypt, he made money by compromising his marriage to Sarai. He repented of this! Now, he rejects the offer of Sodom. This is a great lesson: It is better to lose money than to grieve the Holy Spirit, lose your peace, your joy and your testimony as a child of God!
Melchizedek comes and interrupts The King of Sodom’ speech. The Holy Spirit intercedes for you! He will always warn you not to lust after the world. The name Melchizedek means ‘King of Righteousness’. He was King of Salem (same as Shalom, Peace). He is our Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7). Melchizedek blesses Abram. To bless it means to be happy, to be congratulated! Others will envy you! God gave him the victory, deliverance! God offers a relationship that has also blessings. God will always be in a covenant relationship with Abram. Melchizedek blesses God! The name of God here is El-Elyon! The Most-High God! He is above all! Even the Cherub cannot fly above God! He is the Possessor of heaven and earth. He created it and He keep it. This is the God of Abram! It shows Abram how to do it! How can you bless God? How can you make God happy? What does God want? We bless God by kneeling before Him and worshipping Him!
By faith, Abram refuses the money of Sodom and receives what El-Elyon offers, not money, but an eternal covenant love relationship. Abram gives Him a tithe from the plunder. In this encounter, by faith, Abram loses money and gains God’s favor!!! This is a reason why we pay tithes and give offerings for the work of God! Abram made a vow that he will not take anything that will not give glory to God! This is the work of grace! This is the Gospel, the desire to always give glory to God! This is a proof that Abram gets humble and his faith increases! Praise the Lord!
This is another lesson: Each time you receive money consider the source of the money! That determines if you take it or reject it! If it is from God, take it! Thank Him! If it is from the devil reject it! Immediately, God encourages Abram for making the right choice: “Fear not Abram! I am your Shield and Exceeding Great Reward”. The Most High God gives the Exceeding Great Reward! He is Abram’s shield! See how Jehovah protected him in the war (with only 318 servant/soldiers) and even against the temptation-offer of the king of Sodom! God says: ‘If you chose Me, if you have Me, you have everything! I am your true riches!’ This is King Grace speaking! Like Abram, may we learn to say no to the devil and yes to God!
“Take the world, but give me Jesus,
All its joys are but a name;
But His love abides forever,
Through eternal years the same”
Worship the Lord!
I took this picture 10 years ago (22-03-2011). We just bought the land and we started ‘pegging’ for the foundation of Father’s House Bible Church sanctuary at 49 Effurun/ Sapele Road. My beloved husband, Pastor Richmond Sisan Leigh is seen here with some workers. He is now in heaven worshipping our Lord and rejoicing as a good and faithful servant of God. Since then, I will never despise little beginnings! To God be all the glory! “This place is too quiet-ohhhhh….”
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand” (Zech 4:10)(Pastor Mrs. Silvia Lia Leigh)
TRUE PROSPERITY HAS GOD IN THE CENTER AND HEAVEN IN VIEW
During the Sunday service, Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh continued preaching about the power of the Gospel. Her main text was taken from the Books of Romans and Hebrews: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith” …. “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore, from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore” (Romans 1:16, 17; Hebrews 11:8-12)
FAITH AND HOPE IN GOD’S PROMISES ARE ALWAYS FULFILLED
Abraham discovered the power of faith and hope in God’s promises; faith and hope in God never fail! PROMISE is a vow to do something good in the future! God’s Promises give us the right to hope until the manifestation comes! FAITH is defined as (present) belief, confidence, total trust in God. HOPE is defined as a joyful constant expectation of good in the future. The promises given by God in His Word will one day become manifest visibly. Hope is invisible. Faith sees the invisible hope and carries on, until it becomes visible. Hope fulfills faith. That is why hope is stronger than faith. Faith does not backslide! Faith is not a coward! Faith pleases God! Faith is the substance, the invisible bridge that carries the hope. When faith is weak, the hope may crash. The greater our faith, the greater our hope and the more we can dream. Faith is the foundation of hope. Faith is connected to the hearing of God’s Word. It is the underground bridge leading and supporting hope. True faith and hope in God will never put you to shame!
ABRAM’S FAITH IS GETTING STRONGER AND LOT’S FAITH IS GETTING WEAKER (Genesis 13)
Abram is getting stronger in his faith. His faith is now three-dimensional. He looks back at the Cross (repents of his backsliding in Egypt and raises an altar to worship God – Gen 13: 3,4). He looks at the glory ahead, at heaven, at the fulfilment of God’s promise, when his descendants will be like the sand, thru Jesus Christ (Heb 11:8-12). He looks at the present challenge, the division in the camp, and by faith, he becomes a peacemaker (Gen 13: 5-18). Abram and Lot are members of the same family. They have been walking together for a long time. They have been together in poverty and in riches. They have many things in common. But they are also quite different in their levels of faith and attitude to life. Abram has strong faith and Lot has weak faith. They have both left everything to follow God to the land of promise. Both are believers in Jehovah, in other words, both are born again. Abram heard the call of God and obeyed. Lot heard the call thru Abram, but he too was saved. God “delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)” (2 Peter 2:7, 8).
What are the main points of difference between these two believers? Abram is always taking the initiative. Lot is always following, never taking risks. After coming back from Egypt, Abram repents and raises an altar to God. But Lot did not repent from the love of the world. He becomes a double minded man. He ‘blends’ easily with believers and unbelievers. Abram was generous. Lot was greedy man; his men argued about the property. Lot chose Sodom that looked more prosperous. As a younger man, he was supposed to let Abram chose first. But he could not resist the temptation of choosing wealth. Lot was impatient and disrespectful. Abram was patient, wise, a man of peace, relaxed in the presence of God. Lot is restless, struggling to make money. He did not think about Abram’s feelings. He does not build altars to God. He is not interested in spiritual things like his uncle. He is not worried to leave Abram, his mentor. Like God, Abram is generous. God gave His only begotten Son. But Lot lives for material things. He lives for this world! These two men have different visions of life and of God’s blessings! They looked at life from opposite directions! Lot looks with natural eyes and Abram looks with the eyes of faith, trusting God to fulfill His promises. Abram is a pacemaker. He sees that they are brothers, and they should not fight. Abram is concerned about God’s reputation and glory. Abram appreciates the unity of the Spirit. Lot does not care about that unity. Unity is peace! Division is war. Lot is ready to separate from his family and friends for the sake of wealth. Lot is a materialistic believer. He sacrifices his testimony as a man of God, his relationships with other brethren, for the sake of wealth! Lot chose Sodom, a prosperous town but outside the Promised Land. In Sodom Lot absorbed the spirit of the world that affected him, his family and descendants. Seated at the gate of Sodom, he became a frustrated, powerless political leader. He offered his daughters to be raped to bring peace in Sodom. With all his wealth and social status, he lost everything. His wife died looking back at Sodom. His two daughters committed incest with him, in a cold lonely cave in the mountains. His descendants, The Moabites and the Ammonites, were cursed by God. Lot was a man of weak little faith! What a tragedy! Even today, the devil tempts the Christians to serve two masters. But it never ends well! Learn from Lot’s mistakes! But watch Abram! Immediately Lot left, God spoke and encouraged him! God said (I paraphrase): ‘Abram, you made the best choice. You have lost nothing! I am still with you and My promises will be fulfilled in you…’ From now on, Abram gets closer to God and his faith increases! Abram wanted a prosperity that has God at the center and heaven in view! Do not be like Lot! Be like Abram!
FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH!
“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Tim 6:3-12)
Lot’s sin was covetousness (which is idolatry). Abram looked at the things above (a city with foundations). But Lot looked around, at earthly things. Abram was a man of the Cross. He died to sin and lived for righteousness. He trusted God to fulfill His promises. Lot was a believer, but he did not die to the love of the world. Covetousness is a sinful strong desire to have something (material blessings) that belong to someone else, without any feelings for the other’s rights. It is an elemental desire, similar with hunger, thirst or sexual lust. You set your eyes and your heart on another’s property. It is connected to envy. Envy is unhappiness at another person’s success or possessions. You wish to have the same for yourself. It is also called ‘the love of money’. Jealousy is anger or bitterness against a person (not just his possessions). You think that person ‘stole’ your success or material gain. Christians who are led by money, who preach money, who desire money even above their testimony, are backsliding. We are commanded to withdraw from such. We are also commanded to actively seek and pursue the Kingdom of God, spiritual things, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith! Worship the Lord!