The Abundant Mercy of God Genesis 45:1-15 Romans 11: 1-2, 29-32
As church people, we have grown up hearing about the mercy of God. His mercy is a very delightful and superb theme that is woven in the entire Bible. From the Old Testament pages, even up to our life stories and experiences today, we have so often witnessed how God’s abundant and inexhaustible mercies have given us a glimpse of the very nature of God… that He is the fountain and source of all mercy.
Today, Christians are burdened with concerns about the END. On top of the real-world concerns of jobs, the economy, food on our tables, our general health and welfare, we are also pre-occupied with worries of the end times, about Biblical prophecies that are unfolding before us, about how this is a preview of the coming reign of the “beast.” Are you still a happy messenger? Can you find it in your heart to be a happy messenger? Will your presence as a messenger of the Good News be a welcome one?
The Good News is a message of victory, of triumph. Elder Emer emphasized this in his message that because of God’s love we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS. To describe Salvation as a victory is an understatement. Salvation is an OVERWHELMING victory!
WHO WILL BE SAVED? Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28 Romans 10:5-15
How important is salvation to us? The word salvation means wholeness, completeness and wellness. God wants us to be whole for time and eternity, all of us. That is why the invitation is extended to us, as what John 3: 16 says.. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, for whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life”. God is not willing that anyone should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Unfortunately, while God offers the gift of salvation to everyone, the sad truth is that, not all people will be saved. Jesus said that many would choose to travel on the road to destruction or condemnation while few would take the road to eternal life. As what Paul says in his letter to the Romans..”They have tried to set up their way and so they did not submit themselves to God’s way of putting people right”. Well, it is like saying..”Lord magpapasakop ako sa Iyo, pero huwag mo nang pakialaman pagsusugal ko”, o kaya, “Lord kikilalanin kitang Panginoon, pero pwede ba hayaan mo na lamang ako sa mga desisyon ko”. The scipture reminds us that those who believed is being put right with God, and believing is not just knowing who God is but is more of following the will of God in our lives, and we can only do that if Jesus Christ is the Lord and the center of our lives.
“The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” (Psalm 145:9) The “all-ness” of God’s love is the lavish perfume poured upon us even before that unnamed woman did it for Jesus. God’s love is all-encompassing, He does not exclude anyone but only when we acknowledge how poor we are in spirit would we be able to respond to His all-greatness with much thanksgiving. Only God can feed us to satisfaction and as in anyone who has been filled, grace overflows to others, too.
This Mission Month, we are invited to look beyond ourselves with Jesus as our Great Model of service and fixing our gaze on Him. The poor will indeed always be with us which includes ourselves. It was upon this “poor” in whatever expression of impoverishment did God pour out His great love, offering Himself in Jesus Christ as a fragrant sacrifice for our salvation.
More often, we too are like the Jewish people. We tend to always do things in our own way. When things get good results and we are successful, we tend to say or maybe sing “Yes, I did it my way..”. But if situations are not in our favor, when things always turn against us, we tend to always turn our pointing finger to others, to the situation and even to God.
We certainly frustrate God when we are careless with His blessings and end up squandering them. But it’s also frustrating to God when we care less about blessing others.
Since there is no substitute for God’s grace in Jesus don’t be careless or care less when it comes to matters of salvation. Without Christ, all are lost. To be cut off from Him is like being cut off from your air supply while scuba diving alone in a deep sea. There is no chance of rescue. There is no chance of life. Therefore, may God make us zealous in cherishing His Word and sharing it so that not a soul, neither ours nor another’s, be lost.
If Paul was writing this letter to us today, I imagine him saying to us, “Neither fear nor panic, neither worry nor anxiety, neither world markets nor stock fluctuations, neither epidemic nor pandemic, not even the covid-19 itself, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” No virus or pandemic can rob us of the victory Jesus gives to all who believe in him. So what difference does this message of being more than conquerors make in our lives? Let us practice Trust. I can think of two Biblical phrases to say to yourself whenever you become fearful about the future. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” And, “We are more than conquerors through him who loves us.” Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us continue to develop an active prayer life, read the Bible and meditate on it, and cultivate connections with our fellow believers. Why not read and meditate on God’s Word instead of browsing the net and looking for messages that can be false or fake that will lead us to be more anxious about the situation. Let us spend more time in prayer each day communing with our loving God.
“THE WORTH OF BEING GOD’S CHILDREN” Psalm 105:1-11 Romans 8:26-39
We are called disciples, servants, soldiers, ambassadors and workers in His vineyard. All of these titles or descriptions remind us of our responsibilities of being faithful followers of Christ. But what about our relationship with God? The Bible tells us that a true follower of Christ or every true Christian is a child of God. Last Sunday’s message was about the Testimony of the Holy Spirit, but the New Testament reading in the book of Romans chapter eight has a lot of things to say about being a child of God.
In Romans 8:14, it says.. “Those who are led by the Holy Spirit are sons of God”. In verse fifteen it goes on saying.. “For you did not receive the Holy Spirit that makes you slaves again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba Father”. The following verse tells us, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children”. And in verse seventeen it affirms that, “If we are God’s children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and co-heirs with Jesus…”.
Now why do we need to emphasize the words “true follower of Christ” or “true Christian” to the description of being a child of God? The simple reason is that we do not become children of God by nature. We were not born as “children of God” when we came into the world. A lot of verses in the Bible can attest to that. It says in Ephesians chapter two verse three, “like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath”, or in other translation it says.. “..we were by nature children of wrath”. In 1John chapter three verse ten, it says, “We know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God”.
“the testimony of the holy spirit” Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24 Romans 8:12-25
In these difficult times, many are bickering over what is being done and how it should be done. People are hoarding even the not so essential stuff and many other items to the harm of others, trying to stockpile as much as they can to survive. Others are completely ignoring the warnings and only being concerned about themselves and what THEY want or how susceptible THEY are. Take a step back. Think about how they are behaving. They are living in fear, not knowing that there is a God of the living, “Survival of the fittest” or “Eat and drink for tomorrow we die.” This isn’t what you were baptized for!
The Holy Spirit speaks to us differently. He says, “Keep listening to the Word. Pray to God! Remember who you are, as God’s baptized child. You are forgiven through Jesus. You are redeemed by Jesus’ blood. You are saved. You are loved. As long as you keep clinging to Jesus in repentance and faith, God will never reject you. He won’t let go of you. He has you in the palm of His hand. As long as you’re resting in God’s grace and love and forgiveness in Jesus, you’re in the perfect place!” What kind of a spirit do you have? The Spirit of truth, the perfect Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to comfort you with His love, forgiveness, guidance and strength. And there are so many reasons, more than ten thousand reasons to thank God for His Spirit and the calm that He brings through the Word, keeping everything in a heavenly perspective.
“listen then who have ears” Genesis 25:19-34 Matthew 13:1-9 & 18-23
It’s one thing to hear the Word of God, and another thing to listen to the Word of God and let it take root in our life. In our New Testament scriptural passage this Sunday found in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew chapter thirteen, we will find a parable that describes four different types of “hearers” in the form of different kinds of soil where good seeds are sown.
A Parable is a story with actual life lesson. Everyone loves a good story. It has a way of disarming us rather than putting up an argument that might alienate us. We actually think in pictures. No one can understand concepts like “beauty” and “goodness” unless we see an example. That is why the Word was made flesh in Jesus.
“The Rest That The Lord Jesus Gives” Genesis 24: 34-38,42-49, 58-67 Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
As of this morning, there are billions of people all over the world, sitting around and thinking about a lot of things. Do I go out or do I stay in? Will the economy rebound and what about the stock market? Am I going to be able to continue to work? When will all this end? When will things get back to normal? Are we winning the fight against the virus or are we at the verge of surrender. Last night’s headline in CNN puts New Zealand in the limelight as the Health Secretary resigns because he cannot anymore do something to fight nor even flattened the curve.
And it is rather fitting that in today’s text, Jesus says “Come to me.” Think about that invite on this First Sunday of July when the General Qurantine is extended. Consider WHO is asking us to come, HOW LONG will it take, WHERE is He taking us, WHAT is He asking us to do, and WHY?