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God’s spritual Laws and the free will of man(3): Knowing God’s will

Knowing God’s will

 

“For this cause also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding…Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to find out and do whatever the Lord wants you to do” (Col1v9-KJV;Eph 5v17-TLB)

The popularity of the message of the will of God has made many a believer to think of God’s will in different ways: to some it’s something only ‘prophets’ can know and so they seek such church officers in order to know God’s will; yet to some, it’s something that is often spoken by God to ‘sensitive’ believers which is supposed to guide them in making decisions, even daily decisions; still, some believe God’s will are His instructions stated only in the bible. The purpose of this piece, therefore, is to draw light from scriptures and address this issue objectively.

To save space we shall skip the meaning of the word ‘will’. For this is easily understood. There is nothing mysterious about it. What we are considering is ‘knowing God’s will’. And we shall start by addressing some key issues. First, it is clear from scripture that in this dispensation, God’s will can be known (without a  prophet). See text above. So the idea of constantly seeking prophets in order to know God’s will clearly reveals spiritual immaturity. Also,  if the will of God is only known by ordinarily searching God’s word (bible), then how was Joseph, who did not have a bible, able to know that it was against God’s will to have carnal knowledge with his master’s wife? (Gen 39v8-9). Please don’t get me wrong: I’m not refuting the fact that God’s will is stated in His Word (the bible), my point is that whether there is the bible or not, the will of God can be known. In other words, it is not about searching a book; it’s about how the book is being searched. So how do we recognise the will of God?

To answer this question, let me quickly say that man is tripartite in nature: he has a body, soul and spirit. The soul was formed at the point of union between the spirit and the body. God breathed into man the breath of life and man became a living soul. (Gen2v7). The spirit of man has three faculties (conscience, intuition and fellowship) with which man is able to fellowship with God. God speaks to man through man’s spirit. Hence, an unregenerate man is dead unto God. This does not mean that he doesn’t have a spirit but that his spirit cannot know God.  Paul refers to such people as those who are “spiritually dead in sins”(Eph2v1); Jude refers to such people as “sensual, not having the spirit”(Jude19)meaning that they do not have a regenerate spirit. Hence, it is clear that even if an unregenerate man were to search the scriptures, he’d only have head knowledge of what God’s will is; he really won’t be able to know it (spiritually) or do it.

God guides us and thus enables us to know his will through His Spirit guiding our spirit. The bible says “…no  one mere man has ever seen, heard or even imagined what wonderful things God has ready for those who love the Lord. But we know these things because God has sent his Spirit to tell us…no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit.”(1st Cor 2v9-11-TLB).  This truth being applied to our prayer life would produce tremendous results because 1st John 5v14-15 says “And this is the confidence we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will he hears us and if we know he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have  the petitions that we desired of him”. We are able to know what to pray for because our spirit is now guided by God’s Spirit. Prayer is not merely making requests that suit our selfish ends, it is mainly communicating God’s will to Him.

Whenever, we seek God’s face regarding a matter, we are able to know what He desires. It could be through an intuitive perception in our enlivened spirit, through the study of the word of God or even through a person. Whatever the case, there’ll always be a spark of illumination in our spirit. Whenever God uses someone to speak to you , you’ll be able to recognise that God is using that person to speak to you. It may not be pleasant words but you’ll know it is God. Hence, Paul wasn’t sad on receiving Prophet Agabus’s prophesy about him because he (his enlivened spirit) recognized it as God’s will. So he said “why all this weeping?…For I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but also to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus”(Acts21v13).

In summary, God’s will is mainly known through His Spirit guiding our regenerate spirit. Whether it’s through the study of word of God that tells us that “In all things give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you…this is the will of God even your sanctification” (1st Thess 5v18, 4v3) or through a saint of God, we are able to perceive the will of God through our spirit. Even when we do certain things that seem ‘normal’ to the ordinary eye but against God’s will, He’ll convict us through our conscience (a faculty of the spirit). We don’t need to form the habit of always waiting for ‘a-word-from-the-Lord’ through a pastor or seeking some ‘Prophet’ to guide us. Even when ‘prophetic’ words are spoken to us in church meetings, we are able to discern what is of God and what is not. Hence Paul says to the Corinthians “weigh carefully what is said”. We have God’s Spirit to guide us-even from false doctrines and prophecies. (1st John 2v20, 27). This is what makes the wine of the new covenant sweeter than that of the old covenant. Hallelujah!

Stay blessed!

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2014 in Religion

 

The Spiritual Laws of God and the free will of Man(2)

Let your will be done O LORD

Hi there, previously we looked at the issue of God’s spiritual laws and the free will of man. This piece therefore endeavours to zoom in on the subject by taking a closer look at a pertinent issue often used by many a believer to connote submission to God. In the heart of many, these words are sometimes uttered with the inner vibrations of sadness because the will of God has often been captured in the mind as that unpleasant event that ALWAYS contradicts the desire of man. This reasoning is manifest in many circles: In the election of leaders in a fellowship or Church, in the choice of a life partner, in the choice of a career, etc. And so it’s not strange to hear people say “I don’t like to be an executive in a fellowship but since it’s the ‘will of God’, I’ll take the responsibility”, “I am with this person in this relationship because it’s ‘God’s will’, not that I really like him or her”, and the list goes on and on. The point being that they just have to follow what ‘God says’ whilst inwardly desiring their will to be done. But is this reasoning in consonance with the teachings of the bible?

We shall be looking at few examples in Scripture in order to answer the question but first we must get two things clear: God DOES NOT force us to do His will. We’ve seen this earlier. And the meaning of the statement “Let your will be done O  LORD” does not in any way infer unwilling compliance but a ready disposition to DO the will of God. It’s like saying “LORD I am willing to do your will.  I delight in your will. I am ready to do your will.” which is surely different from “I want to do my will but let your will be done”. There should never be a tinge of sadness within. True submission is manifest in this: that God’s children delight themselves in doing the will of their Father.

Some may contend to the above stated point by citing the call of Moses in the desert (in Exodus 3) as an instance of a man who did not initially want to do the will of God but had to do it. But the scripture tells us plainly that “Moses supposed his brothers would realize that God had sent him to help them, but they didn’t” (Acts7v25-TLB). This, of course, was before God officially called him in the desert forty years later. If we study the story carefully, we shall see that what Moses did was not unwilling compliance but first, a humble admittance of his insufficiencies (common with many of God’s servants), and of his recalcitrant brethren. Moses was willing to do the will of God. Moreover, he had known he’d be the one to help them.

Another example is Jeremiah. Jeremiah also admitted that he was too young to carry out such an enormous ministerial task after he received the call of God-not that he was unwilling. (Jer1v6). And when Christ said “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup be taken from me. But I want your will, not mine”(Matt26v39), he was clearly expressing his inmost desire. Not that he was unhappy to do the will of God but rather he was filled with heaviness due to the magnitude of what he was about to carry-the sins of the whole world! He who knew no sin would become the worst sinner-one to be crucified on the cross with the worst of sinners. Scriptures clearly point out that “I [Christ] have come to do your [God] will…I have not come to do my own will but the will of him that sent me”(Heb10v7;John6v38). So Christ LOVED to do the will of God.

The real issue then is knowing the will of God not weighing the will of God. Our disposition as believers should be “I am ready to do your will. I want to be filled with the knowledge of your will” as a way of saying “Let your will be done O LORD”. And as the LORD reveals His will to us through His Word, we receive it with joy and execute it. In the next discourse, we shall be considering the issue of knowing the will of God.

Stay blessed!

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2014 in Religion

 

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THE SPIRITUAL LAWS OF GOD AND THE FREE WILL OF MAN (series).

The gift of free will

When God gives an instruction based on His holy Laws, He places before man a choice. He does gives instructions and then take over the will of man to execute His will. True believers must understand this important fact: that man has a will. And this is a gift from God. Man is not a robot that must execute the will of its owner. Man must of a necessity choose whether or not he will execute the will of God. And this does not preclude a regenerated man. The regenerated man does not lose his will. Christ revealed this when he said “for I came down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of Him that sent me.” (John 6:38). His will was not lost. In this article, we therefore endeavour to build the necessary foundation by emphasizing the fact that God has blessed man with a gift: the gift of free will.

The classic story of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden reveals this salient principle that has been dimly viewed by the cloudy eyes of those whose ignorance has caused them to spread the erroneous doctrine that man must lose his will in order to please God. In that story, God gave man an instruction: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not eat of it: for in the day that thou eat thereof thou shall surely die.” (Gen2:16-17). Many have argued blindly that, if God knew that Adam would eat of the forbidden fruit why did He not stop him? The spiritual Laws of God control the universe and determine the course of a man’s life. According to the law of God, if they eat of the fruit, death will ensue and if they acted otherwise, they’d live. In other words, “there is death and there is life. Whichever you choose would be reflected in your decision.” So in the strictest sense, man’s course lied with him and not with God. This principle has not changed.

True, God sees the future before the present but at best He’ll only warn man against his actions because man himself has the power to change the course of his life-even away from God’s intended plan. There are numerous examples in scripture. For example, Saul’s presumptuousness in making burnt offerings and peace offerings, defying the word of the LORD through Samuel cost him a lot. The bible records that “And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel forever.”(1st Sam13:13). Saul’s actions terminated God’s plan for his life. He made a wrong choice-borne out rebellion, impatience, doubt and pride. Perhaps David might have come in later in the picture.

In the same vein, the kingdom of Israel was taken away from Solomon’s household after his death because of his choice of disobedience. God warned him twice against forsaking His decrees and statutes and pursing foreign gods. (1st Kings 6v11-13; 9v4-7). God made a promise to David that his offspring will continue to rule over Israel provided that they walk in obedience. This was God’s plan. Solomon had a choice to make this a reality. And perhaps he may have thought in his heart “if God has made a promise to David my father, then my children will continue to reign on the throne of Israel”. He was wrong. He exercised his will and used it wrongly in taking to himself 700 wives and 300 concubines. Sure enough, they turned his heart away from God and the Law of God was manifested. The consequence was this “Therefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and I will give it to thy servant.” No wonder God spoke to Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, after the kingdom of Israel had been divided that “this thing is from me”. God’s Laws are bound to effect the consequences of man’s actions based on his will.

In the next article, we shall be taking a closer look at the words “Let thy will be done O Lord”.

To be continued…

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2014 in Religion

 

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After these things

After these things, God proved Abraham’s character…” Gen22v1

A proof of our spiritual maturity is our behaviour in the day of adversity.Are we going to complain like the Israelites in the wilderness or are we going to persist in faith like Joseph? Remember that “If you faint in the day of adversity your strength is small”.(Prov24v10)

The soulish life longs for an endless season of pleasure. It is excited in a season of harvest but complains and murmurs when there’s dryness. This reflects childishness. The heart of the mature spiritual believer isn’t controlled by externalities. His joy is fixed, his hallelujah is secure, and his praise is unconditional.He is like prophet Habakkuk who said “although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat;the flocks shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls, YET I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” (Hab3v17) or like Job who said “Though He slay me YET will I trust Him…”(Job13v15)

Let’s hold on to the profession of our faith, with our eyes constantly upon Jesus and nothing else. May He strengthen us at our toughest times.

God bless.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2014 in Religion

 

Seductive apostates and their damnable doctrines

“False prophets appeared in the past among the people, and in the same way false teachers will appear among you. They will bring in destructive, untrue doctrines, and will deny the Master who redeemed them, and so they will bring upon themselves sudden destruction.” (2nd Peter 1v2 GNB). I start this article with a scripture I relish because of its prophetic insight-relating the past to the present and it serves as the anchor on which this topic stands. The questions that readily come to mind, then, are: Who are the seductive apostates? How are they identified? How do they convince (or seduce) people into their ecclesiastical anomalies?

These apostates are referred to as “false teachers” (2nd Peter 2v1), elsewhere, they are regarded as“…some godless people [who] have slipped in unnoticed among us…” (Judev4). In the book of 1st John, they are called “Enemies of Christ” who “really did not belong to our fellowship and that is why they left us; if they had belonged to our fellowship, they would have stayed with us. But they left so that it might be clear that none of them really belonged to us.” (1st John 2v18-19). How do we know them? It’s simple. They “…distort the message about the grace of our God in order to excuse their immoral ways, and who reject Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord…” (Jude4)

It is important to state at this point that such miserable individuals whose condemnation has been preserved long ago don’t always appear as enemies of Christ hence their seductive nature. So, what is their strategy? “Even so, many will follow their immoral ways; and because of what they do, others will speak evil of the Way of truth. In their greed these false teachers will make a profit out of telling you made-up stories. For a long time now their Judge has been ready, and their Destroyer has been wide awake!” (2nd Peter2v2-3) These “made-up stories” which take a number of Christians away from the true path of light are consolidated with “signs, miracles and wonders” These people twist the Holy Scriptures and make destructive(but often seductive) inferences from it in order to manipulate people in Church. Unfortunately and as the bible rightly predicts many will follow their immoral [damnable] ways.

Herein is the admonition: What validates a pastor, a teacher or any leader in Church is not how well he quotes the scriptures or how ‘anointed’ he appears or how many signs and wonders he is able to perform but the appropriate application of the word of God both in his words and in his deeds. That’s all. Christ buttresses this point in the book of Matthew7v22-23: “When the Judgment Day comes, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! In your name we spoke God’s message, by your name we drove out many demons and performed many miracles!’Then I will say to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you wicked people!’ ” The onus is therefore on the believer to make Christ and His infallible word the standard through which he can compare whatever he receives in Church in order to guide his actions and thus live rightly in the sight of God.

To be continued

Yisa Samuel

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2012 in Religion

 

Pillars of The World System

The sensitivity of the issue of the world system stems from the widespread usage of the word world” especially in the Christendom: people tend to associate people [or things used by such people] outside the church as “worldly”.  Hence, we hear statements like “people of the world”, “worldly music”, and the like. The biblical concept of the phrase “the world” is profound and expository especially in its origin and applicability to the extent that “the world” might even exist in the Church.

The bible says in the book of 1st John 2v15-16: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” These verses give us an expository picture of the concept of the world: It speaks of an orchestrated system which is anchored on three pillars: The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. This world system was designed by the prince of this world which originated at the fall of Man in the Garden of Eden.

After the creation of Adam and Eve, Man began to fellowship with God in blessedness, enjoying His providence. Satan, the prince of this world, became jealous and devised a scheme which had a tripartite anchorage on the pillars mentioned earlier, with the aim of terminating this holy fellowship. Hence he lured Eve into deception: “And the serpent said unto the woman, you shall not surely die: For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food (the lust of the flesh), and that it was pleasant to the eyes (the lust of the eyes) and a tree to be desired to make one wise (the pride of life), she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Gen 3v4-6). This was the beginning of Man’s doom and Satan’s establishment of his system of operation-The World System.

The lust of the flesh describes everything that characterises the cravings of the sinful man. This is exemplified in acts such as sexual immorality, greed, gluttony, covetousness etc; in short, any act that depicts self-gratification.

The lust of the eyes describes anything that stirs up the desire of the sinful man when he sees them. The principle of this factor is simple: the eyes see, the body desires. This is exemplified in envy, pornography, obscene music videos, the use of seductive models in product branding, provocative outfits (in the name of fashion trend), the crave for power, the crave for wealth, etc.

The pride of life describes a man’s boastings of his possessions and achievements. This is vividly exemplified in the music industry today: Many of the songs released by artistes speak of their boast of wealth, sexual strength and the like. Even some so-called gospel songs are characterised by the pride of life.

These pillars control the world we live in: they are not geographically defined; they are indwelling in the lives of the subjects of the Prince of the world whether at home, in Church, in the office, in school, wherever.

However, God warns us to that if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not on him. Hence, we need to be careful of our attitude towards sex, money and power; we need to be wary of the kinds of music we listen to, the movies we watch, in short, the things that dominate our mind. The love of the Father is created by the Holy Spirit of God who gradually builds the nature of God in us as we depend on him for transformation. The book of Romans 12v2 says: And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

God bless you.

Yisa Samuel

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Religion

 

A Church or a Firm?

Hardly would anyone agree that a Church, through its ecclesiastical activities, could become a firm because there wouldn’t be any visible evidence to substantiate such a horrendous claim. Who is the C.E.O? Who are the Investors? Who are the shareholders? Is the Church a brand? What is the market structure like? All these questions amongst others would make one to normally conclude that there can never be a time when a Church would become a firm. But when a Church becomes latently fashioned, both structurally and functionally, in a manner that parallels with a functional firm, though alienated from the path of the true elect it has become a firm. Let us take a cursory look at some of such activities, which dominate many a Church-turned-Firm today.

First is the issue of Return-on-Investment. It is sardonic that there are Churches that practice this aberration, maybe not cautiously. This is evidenced in instances where certain individuals are distinguished from the congregation and given such VIP treatments as Church appointments, seat reservations etc., because of their enormous financial contribution to the organization (Church). In some cases, such individuals take advantage of their ‘Shareholder rights’ by determining who takes certain leadership positions in Church and can, at any time, question the authority of people they regard as their enemies. And when the recommendations of such shareholders seem to be discountenanced, they threaten to leave the Church. And since every firm strives to achieve Shareholder value and profit maximization, the management of such a Church is forced to compromise. These nabobs are the individuals who constitute various Stakeholder groups (G-8, Club 50, Council of Directors, etc.)I’ve heard of being instituted in Churches.

The next issue is that of Recapitalization Strategy. Many Churches today herald meetings, conferences, revivals through handbills, media advertising, stickers etc., which are presumed to be power-packed and intended for the uplift of the members; whereas the actual underlying motive is to glean the attendants of such meetings of whatever financial resources they may possess. They do this through the altar calls of sacrificial seed-sowing, special offerings, pledges-to-the-Most-High, etc. The money thus realized from such meetings boosts the capital base of the Church and its Leaders. And such programs may be organized subsequently depending on when ‘God desires of such a meeting’. The sardonic part of this ecclesiastical anomaly is that: one, the feedback mechanism (testimony sharing), if at all, is usually crafted in such a way that indirectly gives glory to the ‘man of God’ or to the program itself; Two, after such programs, there really isn’t any lasting significant improvement in the lives (especially spiritually) of the majority of the congregation and the leaders are often less concerned about this matter.

Another issue worthy of note is that of Sales Promotion Strategy. Many so-called Evangelists, Outreach crews preach Church (or sometimes Christ) in the hope that their ‘converts’ would become potential members of their Churches. Some Churches even go as far as placing rewards (incentives) for members (Sales Representatives) who are able to bring more members to the Church. Why would such a Church crave for membership or, in business terms, market share? Profitability is the answer. They believe in the 4M Rule: More-Members-More-Money. I don’t think there is anything wrong in inviting a friend to Church but what I find most disturbing is when the motive behind such an act is targeted towards the potential increment in tithes, offerings and sacrificial seeds. And quite a number of Pastors constantly seek to retain their members by persuading them that there really isn’t any good Church out there and that there are many false prophets today; They also try to use various means of ‘spiritual gifts’ like prophecy, healing, etc., to hoodwink such vulnerable folks into their falsehood.

In the book of Matthew 7, Christ warns us of heretics and thieves who clad themselves in apparels of Pastors, Ministers, Evangelists, Apostles, and the like. Matthew7v15-22: “Be on your guard against false prophets; they come to you looking like sheep on the outside, but on the inside they are really like wild wolves. You will know them by what they do. Thorn bushes do not bear grapes, and briers do not bear figs.  A healthy tree bears good fruit, but a poor tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a poor tree cannot bear good fruit. And any tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire.  So then, you will know the false prophets by what they do. “Not everyone who calls me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only those who do what my Father in heaven wants them to do. When the Judgment Day comes, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! In your name we spoke God’s message, by your name we drove out many demons and performed many miracles!’   I don’t know of any ‘man of God’ who has declared himself as a false prophet.

However, Christ teaches that we can discern false prophets by their fruits. That is exactly what the word of God helps us do. It teaches guides and helps us discern falsehood. 1st John 2v27 says “But as for you, Christ has poured out his Spirit on you. As long as his Spirit remains in you, you do not need anyone to teach you. For his Spirit teaches you about everything, and what he teaches is true, not false. Obey the Spirit’s teaching, then, and remain in union with Christ.” You will know if you are in a wrong gathering or not by the Spirit’s discerning power-weighing the things you hear and see with the word of God.

Yisa Samuel

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Religion

 
 
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