God's Wrath was Satisfied

God's Wrath was Satisfied
Preach the Word!!

Monday, 13 August 2012

The Olympics: Is this what Paul meant when he said, "run so as to obtain the prize?"

Felix Sanchez in tears of joy after winning 400m race


Gabby Douglas with team coordinator after winning gold

Clayton Fredrick falls on a horse
 I love sport and I enjoy seeing sports men and women in action. I also know that thousands of people were glued to their TV screens to watch these passionate games (the Olympics). But then,how should Christians view the Olympics? Is this what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, “run so as to obtain the prize?”  Too bad I did not get to watch these men and women fulfill their dreams and break records (I don't have a TV. Shhhh don't tell anyone!). However, when events like the Olympics are taking place, it reminds me of something joyous, something that my eyes cannot wait to see. It is the extraordinary. The time when the saints will go marching in, to receive their crowns and rewards for that which they labored. Before we think of the prizes that will be obtained, we need to ask ourselves this question. Are we using our gifts with the measure of grace given us? Apart from that we must also put to mind the hard work that these people (the athletes) put in before competing and finally winning. It is the same with our Christian walk. The Christian race is not an easy one. Sometimes we will fall along the way
Michael Phelps, most decorated Olympian.
Rudhisha of Kenya celebrates after winning gold
The Williams Sisters with their gold medals
Usain Bolt celebrates after 100m race
 and this may cause pain. Sometimes we will succeed and this will bring joy. At times the race will seem impossible and this may bring anxiety. During the Olympics, there were all kinds of activities. Some were falling. Others were breaking their bones. You may say “well as long as I get to heaven.” Yes you will but I can already see the sorrow on your face. When others will be rejoicing with tears of joy, and their you will be, wondering why you did not support the missionary work, why you did not use your gift of preaching, why you did not use your gifted voice to sing in the choir and why you did not use your gift of teaching. Remember the prize is according to the measure of grace that is given to you. Don't try and be the other person.  The Olympics have all kinds of categories and each athlete knows what fits him well. Likewise, each Christian has his own gifts. There some saints who have so much potential. Some Christians are blessed with so much wealth but very little or none is being invested in the work of the Lord. Some are highly gifted but rarely use their abilities. Believer, "do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? so run that you may obtain it... they do it to receive a perishable crown but we an
Gatlin shows off national flag after obtaining silver
imperishable" 1 Cor 9:24-25. Sometimes it will require you to make great sacrifices of your time, your friends, your money and even your life. And that is why Paul, when he is about to be beheaded, he would confidently say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness..." 2 Tim 4:7-8 . And notice the issue is about being passionate about the message of the gospel. These athletes are passionate about what they do. God has saved us not so we can sit and be idle. Its is so that we further the gospel. Notice when Paul is talking about receiving the prize, its not about how spiritual we need to become that motivates him but about how that he endures all things for the sake of the gospel. That is what the prize is all about. Its about the gospel! The gospel! The gospel! The race is still on. You can still make a difference. Its like the hymn writer says, "Let us not grow weary in the work of love. Send the light, send the light. Let us gather jewels for  a crown above. Send the light, send the light. Send the light the blessed gospel light, let it shine from shore to shore, let it's radiant beams light the world forever more."  And still another writes saying, "bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves, we shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves." Amen


Thursday, 2 August 2012

We worship the same God: Really?

“It’s only that you are a Christian otherwise everything else is just the same” said a Mr. X “We worship the same God. We are all drawn to the same God at the end of the day.” I have heard such statements from several people who think there is no difference between Christianity and the other religions of the world. When you get to the heart of the matter, you will realize that it’s because many are wrongly informed about Christianity.
 One false statement that is usually mentioned is that Christianity is about the number of good things that someone does. The more good you do the more holy you are and you are certainly assured of a place in heaven. This is actually being practiced in some areas today. A church buys bags of maize meal, rice and cooking oil (saladi) and begins to distribute in some chosen neighborhood. When this is done, then it is believed you gain points in heaven. It must be mentioned that giving is a good thing and distribution of groceries to the poor is a recommendable act but that is not Christianity. That is why someone will tell you “we all worship the same God because all we have to do is go grab a bag of maize and give to someone and you are assured of a place in heaven. Make sure you go to church every Sunday, don’t insult, don’t tell lies and before you realize you will be in God’s kingdom” That’s not Christianity.
Another error that leads a lot of people astray in regard to true Christianity is the shallow understanding of man’s true nature. A lot of people understand man to be generally good. They say “man is good it’s just that he finds himself in an evil world so that is the reason he begins to do wrong things. They put the blame on the devil, the television, the computer, the animals and everything that is not human. They go on to say that because of the evil in the world man begins to steal, he begins to lie, he begins to struggle with anger etc.” So based on this view, someone just needs to realize how good a person he is and avoid all forms of evil and he will then be accepted by God. But again that is not Christianity.
The amount of Bible knowledge and level of spirituality are two other errors that lead to a false view of Christianity depending on how you measure spirituality. Someone will say “look I pray five times a day, I can quote so many verses in the Bible or Quran or Bhagavad-Gita and I am a very good and gifted singer in our Church choir.” This and so many other statements come up and people use them to show that Christianity is not any different from what they believe or practice.
“What then is Christianity if it isn’t the above mentioned things? I am confused” says someone. Well let me break it down for you dear friend.  For you to understand why it’s not the above mentioned things there is one particular item that needs to be made clear. That item is the nature of man. Who is man? Who is a human being? If you were to put it in your own words how would you define a human being? Science and evolution will tell you that you are “a better species of a Chimpanzee.” The world of today will tell you that you are your own god. Some still will say you are a star like Beyonce, Ronaldo, Chris Rock, Sean John a.k.a P Diddy (don’t ask me how I know all these people). But honestly who are you? If you and I can answer this question then that gives us a place to start from in regard to understanding true Christianity because we need to know who we are before we think of worshiping God. Not knowing ourselves is like being put in a football game and not knowing what number you are playing. That can be dangerous. You might end up scoring in your own goal. It’s like being employed by an organization and not knowing what position you hold. It can be risky. You might start acting like the boss when initially you are the Kaboyi (servant). You even tell the MD or CEO to make you some coffee and bring it to your table. Then before you realize you don’t have your Job. Fired!! It may sound hilarious but a lot of people out there are in the same shoes. They think they have it when in actual sense they are far from the truth. Who are you? This is who you are, what this verse says.  “Then God said Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…” Genesis 1:26. You are a human being made in the image of God. Image of God here means God’s representation and not that we physically look like God. That is why you do not see Chimpanzees making aircrafts. You don’t see or hear of the united flock of sheep or of goats. Have you ever seen snakes communicating on cell phones? You are a Spiritual being with intellect, will and emotions just like God. You are able to reason. That is why you want to worship. This image of God however is not the same from the time man came into existence. What is the problem with the image? The problem is that this image has been corrupted by sin. This is man’s true nature, a sinner.  We are born sinners. 
You and I also know that God cannot be a sinner because he would cease to be God. God is holy, separated from sin. And if he is separated from sin then that means you can’t get closer to him because you are a sinner. We are all born sinners. Look at a young child in his early stages of life. The Child knows how to steal and tell lies without being taught. Where does that come from? It’s because of sin.  And we also know that if God lets sin go unpunished then he is not a God of justice. This then brings in the verse that says “for the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23. That is why we die. Can you give any other convincing reason why we die? Yes! Maybe! You don’t know?  How did sin come in? Notice what this verse says in Romans 5:12. “Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” Look around the world and see what is going on. You notice that sin has covered the whole earth. Murder, homosexuality, thefts, fornication, abortions and many other sins are everywhere. So in short there is nothing good that you and I can do in our own strength so as to please God because we find ourselves guilty, stained with sin. God is angry at sin and he will punish sin. And if you tell me you have never sinned, you will be the biggest liar of all time. So then, good works (donating kapenta or bathing soap) will not cleanse you from your sin because the wages of sin is death. Neither will increasing your knowledge in the Bible or Quran or Bhagavad-Gita nor praying five or twenty six times a day. So then what is the solution to man’s problem of sin? The answer is what defines true Christianity. The answer is Jesus Christ.  Notice the latter part of Romans 6:23. It says “… but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” That is the solution and that is what Christianity is about.  Instead of you dying, perishing for your own sins, God gives you a gift, eternal life. This life comes from Christ and him alone. Christianity is about Jesus Christ. Notice what the book of Matthew says “She will give birth to a Son and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” Matthew 1:21. Man cannot save from sin. Animals cannot save from sin. Then who can save us from sin? Only God can save us. He gave his only Son to die for our sins. Instead of you being punished (dying) Christ died on your behalf. So everyone who has faith in Christ will be saved. A faith that causes someone to say, “I believe that Jesus died for my sins and I trust in the work that he did on the cross for deliverance of my sin and not on good works or giftedness or my spirituality. Lord, forgive me of my sin and save me.” When God has pardoned your sin, you will notice the difference. You will know you are a true worshiper of God. And at that moment you become a Christian and are assured of a place in heaven. That is what true Christianity is all about. You then naturally begin to want to good things not to earn salvation but because he who is you (Christ) guides you into doing good. Is this the Christianity you know? If not, then am afraid we do no worship the same God.