It is with gratitude to God that I am able to declare that my G2 Shepherds cell group is growing in quantity, quality and cohesiveness. I am thankful for the new additions (KJ and BL), the ones who joined us halfway (KY and YX) and the ones who have stuck with me from the beginning (HY, JC, MF, MW, EL). Tonight we’ve completed our two-part inductive bible study on Hebrews 4:12 (theme verse for “Pierce”); it was essential that all of in the organising committee understand this powerful verse at the back of our hand, so that our basis for planning is one and the same.
I enjoyed teaching them as much as they enjoyed receiving from the Word – I’m reveling in developing my gifts of writing, teaching and preaching. Bottom line is, I enjoy communication and it’s a boon that the medium which I’m promulgating is God’s word. We’ve gone into a fair bit of details through our study and one may need to be in the cell to fully understand the following summary. Nonetheless, here are the seven truths (in context of the Word of God) that I’ve left with them in my conclusion of this short, one-verse series:
- Our lives are changed when the Holy Spirit uses the scripture (which we first must have hidden in our hearts) to reveal specific truths to us.
- One biblical truth is infinitely better than countless worldly wisdom: revolution trumps inspiration and permanent trumps temporary.
- In spiritual warfare, Satan’s weapons do not stand a chance against the only offensive piece in God’s armour, which is the sword of the Spirit.
- God is the master markman and expert archer who never misses the target with His arrows of truth: for every occasion, everyone, and always relevant.
- If our life was an assessment book, then the Bible is the answer sheet hidden in the back pages: turn to it periodically for personal evaluation.
- The Word of God doesn’t just last forever; it never fades in brilliance too: think stars, matchsticks and torchlights that diminish with time.
- You criticise the Word because the Word criticises you: do not shun correction for judgment is a neutral word that merely determines outcome.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
I’m confident that almost every believer is familiar with this verse; it’s like our perpetual get-out-of-jail-free ticket and our permanent licence to do (pretty much) whatever we want and get away with it. Of course, if you are a mature believer, you’ll slowly realise that God’s grace should empower us not to sin some more, but to sin no more; the grace of God should empower us to do what the truth demands. I think I’ve mentioned that somewhere in one of my earlier entries.
Now, the question that I’d ask is, “Who or what is God faithful and just to?” That was what I posed to my REAL champs this afternoon, at the aftermath of their Old Testament Overview, where they learnt that the overarching theme of Exodus is the faithfulness of God by His demonstration of fulfilling what He has promised (i.e. Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt).
A knee-jerk response to the above-mentioned question would be He is faithful and just to me or He is faithful and just to my repentance. Think about it for a little bit longer. Do you really think that God’s forgiveness and cleansing was based on you or to your repenting efforts? If it was so, you’d be already be struck dead! I’m inclined to think that if God was really just to us (i.e. as a judge would demonstrate justice in a court), we’d get the death sentence ten times over simply for being unable to meet the requirements of His laws; after all, it is stated that the wages of sin is death (ref. Romans 6:23).
Thankfully for us, God is just to Jesus Christ, not us. That’s the reason why God has forgiven our sins and has cleansed us from all unrighteousness! By taking the fall for us, Christ presents us righteous before God. I’m convinced that we are absolutely too sinful and unholy to be in the presence of a holy God but we are allowed access because when God views us, He sees the atoning sacrifice of Christ and not our sin. By the sheer unchangeability of what Christ has already done for us on the cross, we can therefore approach God with confidence, knowing that we’ll be forgiven and cleansed every single time. God is faithful to what Christ did in our place.
We’ll never be able to fulfil our side of the promise, unlike Christ who has already fulfilled His and therefore, permits us to have communion with God. Now, that’s what I call a demonstration of a promise! I gave God the glory as I saw the REAL kids nod their heads away as they learn a new truth and it is my prayer that you will be liberated as you discover a new way to apply this familiar scripture into your life.
It has been a hectic day but I am determined to continue my good habit (so far) of writing daily. I’ve always considered sharing my sermon transcript here too. Hence, to kill two birds with one stone, I will post an excerpt from the last sermon I preached, titled “For God’s sake, be good!” The following is my understanding and interpretation of Matthew 5:13-16, with references from the Lexicon alone.
“You and only you are and can be the salt, better known as the protector and preserver, of your given territory, but if you have lost your strength, flavour and purpose for existence in being a protector and preserver, how shall you ever reclaim it if you are the same as everyone and everything else? You are no longer powerful or strong enough for anything and anyone, so the only way to treat you is not just to discard you but to let everyone ridicule and insult you because you are now useless.
Again, you and only you are and can be light, or better known as a beacon of truth to this whole mass of men alienated from God. There is no way for a city, and its inhabitants that is deliberately set on a predestined position on a mountaintop, to escape others from noticing it because it’s impossible.
No logical person will stupidly light a lamp only to hide it under a 9-litre box, because it’s a pure waste of time and energy, but on a 9-inch candlestick in the centre of a room where it illuminates the room and its light blesses everyone in the room.
Our light, that is from God and reflected of God, is to shine through good works that is born from being Christlike, for the sole purpose of getting everyone to see it, so that they will realise that it is not our own light that is shining but a greater light and they cannot help to be awed by it and will naturally and consequently give glory to God in heaven and acknowledge Him as the source of all lights because He is the brightest light that the world knows.”
I stand corrected so please read it with a pinch of salt. It’s meant only to help you gain a better understanding of the text and not meant to rewrite the Scriptures!