Sunday, August 25, 2013

This message is part of a sermon series. For the rest of the sermon series go to Dead to Sin

The Walking Dead Meme

Romans 6:1-10
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.   For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,  knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.  Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.” (NKJV)

The word sanctification does not occur in the King James Version but was rendered holiness in many places. The word in Greek is best translated “sanctification”. It occurs first in the Book of Romans and appeared twice in Romans 6.

What to do with the sinner in relation to the penalty for sin is the first problem God faced in saving men. The next problem concerned the power and pollution of sin that dominates his life. First of all, how does God deal with the sinner and his sins? Justification is the answer. God declares him to be righteous, and treats him as such. Second after a man is justified, declared not guilty, he discovers that he has a sin nature which gives rise to sinful acts. What will God do about that? The answer is sanctification, that aspect of the work of God which deals with the power and pollution of sin.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The death of the Church

Colossians 2:1-8
“For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” 

In Second Corinthians 11:3, Paul the Apostle expressed fears that the Corinthian Christians might be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. One may wonder what Paul would say today, if he were, in our midst and saw our modern Churches. We have Churches today that are so complicated and constitute more of what can be described as a beehive of activities: so many committees, boards, programmes, organisations, and units within the body. These organisational complications have made the Church service more of a formality. Church services have been reduced to a series of announcements, sermons are abridged and tailored to suit what the congregation wants to hear, no evening services because it is not quite convenient, and prayer meetings are tailored to fit into schedule. Some call this an IMPROVEMENT over the simple programmes of the early Church, but is this progress? 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Defeating the devil

Ephesians 6:10-19
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil; For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities; against powers; against the rulers of the darkness of this age; against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armour of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints —  and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel,” (NKJV)

The Bible reminds us that we are engaged in a very bitter struggle with the enemy – the Devil. Not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers. One of the strategies of warfare is to know the exact location of your enemy; his strength and his weakness. In the same way, you should never neglect a thorough assessment of your own self – your strength and your weaknesses and your position relative to the enemy’s. Any mistake in this assessment has very disastrous consequences.