Sunday, June 27, 2010


Some of the greatest discoveries in the world or at least the ideas for them stumbled upon people perhaps were not searching for it at that time. For example as the legend goes, “while sitting under an apple tree an apple fell on the head of Sir Isaac Newton that sparked the idea for what we now call “The Law of Gravity”

The Penicillin a life saving drug was discovered by chance in 1928, after Alexander Fleming accidentally left a dish of bacteria uncovered for a few days. He returned to find the dish dotted with bacterial growth, apart from one area where a patch of mold (Penicillin notatum) was growing. The mold produced a substance, named penicillin by Fleming, which inhibited bacterial growth and was later found to be effective against a wide range of harmful bacteria.” Other discoveries like inventing the light bulb, Telephone, Automobile, Airplane took a lot of intentionality, grit, determination and years of perseverance. We reap the benefits of these amazing discoveries.

The greatest discovery of all times is made each time when God redeems a lost sinner and the lost sinner discovers the loving God. I would like to share with you the story of a man who climbed a tree and made his greatest discovery in life. The man in the story was rich but ostracized by the society. He was considered as a traitor because of his profession. He had to overcome public humiliation, and had to fight against his own personal limitations but none of them deterred his quest. He was determined to reach his goal and finally when he made that discovery he was overjoyed. Let me introduce this man to you, he is found in Luke 19:1-10

The context of this story. Jesus was on the last phase of his journey to Jerusalem where he was going to accomplish his mission. On his way to Jerusalem Jesus met with several seekers. Firstly a rich young ruler who wanted to know how to get saved, but when Jesus told what he must do he was unwilling to part with his earthly riches so that he might inherit eternal riches. Secondly a desperate blind beggar who badly wanted his sight back. When he heard that Jesus was passing by him he shouted “Jesus Son of David have mercy on me” the crowds tried to calm him down but the blind man kept crying, “Son of David have mercy on me” Jesus stopped by and restored the sight to the blind man. Thirdly, a rich chief of tax collectors by name Zacchaeus, we will pick up the story from here.

The story of Zacchaeus is familiar to many of us, we have heard it from our childhood, and because of it’s familiarity we fail to see some life changing principles. At the offset a lot seems to be going for Zacchaeus. He is a Jew, a Chief tax collector, and he is wealthy. What more one would wish? But if we take a deeper look at Zacchaeus inspite of all his wealth and influence he seems to be miserable and missing something. Isn’t that somewhat true with us? Somehow the modern man believed a lie that, the more “wealthy and successful he becomes the happier he will be.” But the truth of the matter is it is not always the case.
Here is an example of an unhappy Austrian millionaire, Karl Rabeder, who made a fortune selling home furnishings and accessories, is giving away all of his more than $ 4 million wealth. The 47-year-old businessman said his fortune has made him unhappy; hence he is giving it to charity.”

We envy the celebrities on the TV because of their good looks and fashionable clothes and all they seem to enjoy because of their wealth and fame but what we don’t realize is that many of their lives are in shambles dealing with multiple divorces, court cases over property related matters, drug abuse and so on. But they know how to fake in front of a camera. As the popular saying goes “all that glitters is not gold” Wealth can buy you a lot of things but it can’t truly make you happy.

What makes a person truly happy? It is living in right relationship with God and with one another. That is what missing in Zacchaeus. He was not living in right relationship with God and with others. Partly because of the way he has earned his money and also how he was perceived by his fellow Jews. During the ancient times if any Jew worked for the Roman government he was ostracized by the rest of the Jews. Here Zacahaeus was collecting taxes from his fellow Jews and giving it to the Roman government, not only that he was the Chief of tax collectors. Can you imagine the ire and anger he might be facing by his fellow citizens?

Zacchaeus must have heard about how Jesus healed the ten lepers, healed the blind beggar and how he put the rich young ruler in place. Zacchaeus did not settle down hearing all those stories of Jesus but he had a strong desire to see who this Jesus was. What was he going to do about it? Similarly, you may have been attending Church all your life, you heard about Jesus, you read about him or even sang praise songs to him but do you really know him? Hearing about Jesus and knowing him are two different things. I too went to Church all my life and read the Bible but not until the age of seventeen I came to know Jesus. Zacchaeus had a strong desire to see, in NASB it says, “he was trying to see who Jesus was” but there were several hurdles he must overcome before he could see Jesus. What were those hindrances? And how did he overcome them?

Zacchaeus had a few hindrances on the way to see Jesus; firstly he was a high ranking officer, a chief tax collector that didn’t give him a credible standing in the Jewish society. Secondly, the crowds, wherever Jesus went he was surrounded by huge crowds wanting to touch him for healing. It is like trying to get through to the celebrities of today, they are surrounded by mobs, the body guards and the police. It will be pretty tough to get near to them. Thirdly. Zacchaeus was small in stature may be five foot tall.

What is your hindrance that coming in the way of you and Jesus? There could be several of them. It could be your pursuit of wanting to be rich, or it could be your social life, or it could be sin. The scripture tells us that our sin separates us from God. Isaiah 59:1-2 “Behold the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; neither is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear.”
The more we sin the more we move away from God. When we are feeling guilty of sin staying away from Church and God and stay at home will not help us that is the time more than ever you need God and the fellowship of other believers. How can a lost person get back to God? It is by taking one step towards His direction that is the step in the right direction.

Zaccaheus did not let his limitations stop him from his pursuit. He was intentional and determined to see who Jesus was. He goes to extraordinary lengths to fulfill his quest even enduring the probable shame of climbing a tree despite his adult male status and position in the community as a wealthy ruler. In the same way when we have a desire and are determined to know Jesus we would be willing to go to any lengths. My Iranian Muslim friend in India when she heard about Jesus she didn’t care about any thing she accepted Jesus as her personal savior.

Zacchaeus knew which way Jesus was coming so he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree. Why did Zacchaeus choose to climb this particular tree and not any other tree? Firstly because it was fairly common tree in the foothills of Palestine. Ficus sycomorus grows to 20 m tall and 6 m wide with a dense round crown of spreading branches. Secondly it has wide-spreading branches and affords a delightful shade. Zacchaeus perhaps wanted to be anonymous and just take a peek at Jesus while he was passing by without any one noticing him. Thirdly, sycamore figs are inferior character. In Amos 7:14 where the prophet Amos referred himself not as a prophet but just the grower of sycamore figs, he must have been reflecting on his own inferiority More than one way Zacchaeus must have been carrying a very poor perception of himself. After being rejected by the crowds he must have been going through tremendous rejection. Whatever may be the reason for Zacchaeus to choose to climb the sycamore tree, now here he was hiding in the tree.

The commotion of the crowds was drawing nearer and nearer and suddenly it stopped just under his tree. This is the chance of a life time. The one he heard a lot about and the one who he always wanted to see was just right under the tree. Can you imagine the emotional high of Zacchaeus? Let’s say you have heard a lot about the Pope John Paul II and you always wanted to see him. You got the news that the Pope is visiting Boston and his entourage will be passing through the streets of Dorchester. You ran ahead and positioned yourself in the crowd. Don’t forget that you are not that tall. Here comes the entourage of the pope and you were in the crowd jumping just get a glimpse of the Pope. Suddenly the pope motions his limousine to be stopped and steps out of it and walks straight up to you and says to you I want to have breakfast with you. How would you feel? Wouldn’t you be excited?

Jesus the miracle worker, the great and powerful teacher of the Kingdom, the one who raised people from the dead was now standing under an insignificant tree. He looked up and said, “Zacchaeus come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” Upon hearing that Zacchaeus must have fallen down of the tree!! The writer here mildly put it saying, “so he came down at once” and welcomed him gladly.” Who wouldn’t want welcome Jesus into their home rejoicing? I would!! But wait!! Don’t get all excited, if Jesus walked into your home today you and your household will never be the same again. He will do a complete overhaul of your life and your family and every thing will be changed for ever for good.
The crowds grumbled at this unusual extension of invitation to a sinner who did not deserve the visitation of the Lord. That’s what the crowds thought, but to Jesus sinners were far more of importance than so called self-righteous people like the Pharisees, Sadducees and the teachers of the Law.

This was the climatic moment in the story where the author Luke captured so vividly. Just imagine Jesus, his disciples were reclining at the table and enjoying the rich hospitality of this wealthy man. The grumbling and complaining crowds must have been standing all around the house and outside. Without Christ saying anything the truth dawned upon Zaccaheus. He discovered what was hindering him from receiving true Joy, which was his wealth. He was willing to let go of the grip of money on his life. So he stood up in front of everybody and made a bold confession. “But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor and If I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount. Up until now Zacchaeus was a slave to money but with that confession he declared Jesus as Lord not only over his life but over his money and possessions. Christ proclaimed salvation to Zacchaeus saying “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


What picture comes to your mind when you think about your father? To some the picture of a loving, caring, generous and gentle person, to some a mean disciplinarian, an evil person, to some a pre-occupied and overly busy person, to some an abusive person, yet to others a phantom that never exists. Each of our pictures of our fathers is different. Some are good and some are not so good. My father was a harsh disciplinarian who only corrected, and punished me when I did something wrong or failed his expectation, but seldom praised me for my accomplishments. When I became a father myself I wanted to be totally a different father to my daughters than what my own father had been to me. What right models do we have?
Josh McDowell writes in his book “The Father Connection” that most men have a general idea of the kind of father they want to be and they look for the “model father” figures that matches their ideal picture of a father. They want to be the kind of fathers whose children feel secure and confident, who feel loved and accepted, save sex for marriage and remain faithful to their husbands and wives in marriage, develops a reputation as men and women of integrity- honest, ethical and hardworking.”

Who doesn’t want to be like that kind of an ideal father? I want to be like one of them and I am sure you too. Is there a perfect “father model” that we could follow? If so who could that be? My father certainly did not display any of those qualities. In the bible we see God as “The ultimate Father” When I follow the ultimate father I can become a better father for my children.
I would like to explain three aspects of our heavenly father, in understanding and applying those traits, will we discover what it is to father our children better. The three characters of God’s father’s heart: 1. The loving father 2. The forgiving father 3. The disciplining father.

In my years of ministry I have come to realize that no matter where you are from, all of us have two most basic needs. One is the need to be loved and other one is the need to be accepted. Josh McDowell notes, “Children regardless of their age- have a deep seated need to feel significant, to feel accepted and loved. God intends for that normal, healthy need to be met first in the home, by Dad and Mom. If both parents do not satisfy that hunger for love and acceptance, the young person will seek to fill that emotional void in someone or something else, and that drive will lead to behaviors that can destroy the child or seriously cripple him or her.”
The parents who have never received love from their parents when they were children wouldn’t know how to love their children. The cycle continues, as a result many young people today are crying out for love and acceptance and they are searching for it in all the wrong places.

My father never told me that he loved me. But I don’t have to be like my father, because when I receive love from my heavenly father I can love my children better. Our hope is that the love and the biblical values we deposit in their lives, while they are young will see them through their teenage years and into adulthood. Only time will tell. More than any other character of God, the love of God runs like a thread throughout the pages of the Bible. In fact the love of God is the chief attribute or the essence of all other attributes. Several scriptures indicate that God is a loving father and his love endures forever.

Hosea 11:1-4 "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son…it was I who healed them I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.”
Jeremiah 31:3 “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”
Exodus 15:13 "In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.”
Psalm 100:5 “For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

These scriptures clearly illustrate that God is our father and his love endures forever. How did God demonstrate His love for us? While we were still sinners God sent his son Jesus to take the punishment of sin away from us. Christ died in our place on the cross by taking our sins upon him so that you and I become free from the guilt of sin. No matter what we have done our heavenly father loves us unconditionally and completely. His love never fails. When we disobey him he may be disappointed and become sorrowful but he would never stop loving us.

Listen to what he has said of Solomon, 2 Samuel 7:14-15 “I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him…But my love will never be taken away from him.”
What an assurance Paul gives us? In Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” A word for parents, no matter how badly our children may behave, let’s never withhold our love and affection from them; they need our love.

Our heavenly father is not only loving but also forgiving. If there was one nation that received favor from God than any other nation it was the nation of Israel. God called Israel his own Son. God delivered the nation of Israel from their 400 years of slavery in Egypt. He led them out from a land of slavery to a land of freedom. Even after seeing all his miraculous provisions, ten times Israel rebelled against God, like a son rebels against his own Father and run’s away from home. God was dejected by the continuous rebellion of his favored people Israel.
Listen to the voice of a dejected heavenly father, Jeremiah 3:19-21 "I myself said, "'How gladly would I treat you like sons and give you a desirable land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.' I thought you would call me 'Father' and not turn away from following me. But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you have been unfaithful to me, O house of Israel," declares the LORD. A cry is heard on the barren heights, the weeping and pleading of the people of Israel, because they have perverted their ways and have forgotten the LORD their God.”
Inspite of their rebellion God forgave them, Daniel 9:9-10 “The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.”

Aren’t we in some ways like the children of Israel? After tasting the Lord’s goodness, receiving his healing, provision, peace, and grace we turn our backs away from him and continue to follow in our stubborn self will. We are as stubborn and stiff-necked as the sons of Israel bent on doing evil rather than what is good. Can you imagine how much your rebellion grieves the heart of your heavenly father?

Because he loves you so much he sends out the same cry that he sent out through the prophet Jeremiah saying, Jeremiah 3:22 "Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding." Inspite of our rebellion when we confess to God, he is ready to forgive and give us another chance because our God is a God of second chance.

“Thomas A. Edison was working on a crazy contraption called a "light bulb" and it took a whole team of men 24 straight hours to put just one together. When Edison was finished with one light bulb, he gave it to a young boy helper, who nervously carried it up the stairs. Step by step he cautiously watched his hands, obviously frightened of dropping such a priceless piece of work. You've probably guessed what happened by now; the poor young fellow dropped the bulb at the top of the stairs. It took the entire team of men twenty-four more hours to make another bulb. Finally, tired and ready for a break, Edison was ready to have his bulb carried up the stairs. He gave it to the same young boy who dropped the first one. That's true forgiveness.”
How does true forgiveness play out in a family and in the family of God? How do we respond to those who have hurt us or betrayed our trust? How do we deal with our children when they don’t do what we tell them to do and when they grow bigger and get involved in things that you don’t approve off? Would we forgive them or would we hold resentment against them?

Our heavenly father modeled forgiveness in his dealings with his rebellious children and expects us to imitate his heart of forgiveness. Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, you’re heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Ephesians 4:32 - 5:1 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” If am not following in my heavenly father’s footsteps I am not his child hence I would not know how to be a forgiving father to my children.

Love and forgiveness, that all sounds good, but does it mean that God never gets upset with us and disciplines us?

Many children, including several adults would secretly wish that words like discipline and punishment never existed, so that they can do anything they want to do and no one is going to bother them right? Just imagine what the world would be like if there is no discipline and punishment? There will be chaos, confusion, disorder, and anarchy which could lead to destruction. Therefore discipline is necessary for growth and success. The legendary American football coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Tom Landry understands the need for discipline when he said, “The job of a football coach is to make men do what they don't want to do, in order to achieve what they've always wanted to be.”

The Bible talks a lot about discipline. In Hebrews 12:5-6 “And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." When we accepted the Lord as our savior we become his children therefore be prepared for His discipline.

What is your idea of discipline? The word discipline means to teach or instruct or to train, it comes from the same root, disciple, meaning one who follows, to learn from another who is wiser. Therefore discipline is a positive word. Then why this aversion for discipline? The truth is many in our generation have not been disciplined well and also we have not learned to respond well to discipline. A.W Tozer explains why we lack discipline in our society today, “We must face the fact that many today are notoriously careless in their living. This attitude finds its way into the church. We have liberty, we have money, we live in comparative luxury. As a result, discipline practically has disappeared. What would a violin solo sound like if the strings on the musician's instrument were all hanging loose, not stretched tight, not "disciplined"? Can you imagine how unproductive our lives would be without discipline?

How does God discipline us? What does he use to discipline us? He uses hardships to discipline us, though not all hardships are necessarily from God like in the case of Job, however when we go through hardships how do we respond? Do we grow bitter, complain and get mad at God? Or do we rejoice in the fact that we are being considered as his children? Hebrews 12:7-11 “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

This is a hard passage to work out in our lives, but it is also comforting scripture to turn to when we are hurting. Next time when you go through hardship remember perhaps God is using it to transform you more into the likeness of His Son, No matter what kind of a father you had or didn’t have, remember you have a heavenly father who is loving, forgiving and also disciplining. He is the ultimate father figure. He is also the perfect Father! How do you relate to Him? Do you submit to Him or do you resist Him? He knows what’s best for all of us. Amen

Sunday, June 6, 2010


A recent survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them: Materialism, Pride Self-centeredness, Laziness, Anger/Bitterness, Sexual lust, Envy, Gluttony, Lying. The survey respondents noted temptations were more potent when they had neglected their time with God (81 percent) and when they were physically tired (57 percent). Resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer (84 percent), avoiding compromising situations (76 percent), Bible study (66 percent), and being accountable to someone (52 percent).

If we are honest with ourselves in some way don’t we all struggle with sin on a daily basis? Sin of all kinds? We feel guilty when we sin, so we confess and repent but after a while we go back to sinning again. Does that ever happen to any one? It happens to me from time to time. Why is it heard to break the power of sin in our lives?
D.L Moody illustrated how to have victory over Sin “Speaking to a large audience, Moody held up a glass and asked, "How can I get the air out of this glass?" One man shouted, "Suck it out with a pump!" Moody replied, "That would create a vacuum and shatter the glass." After numerous other suggestions Moody smiled, picked up a pitcher of water, and filled the glass. "There," he said, "all the air is now removed." He then went on to explain that victory in the Christian life is not accomplished by "sucking out a sin here and there," but by being filled with the Holy Spirit.

How I wish we experience God’s power in our every day lives? Is there such a power in the first place? If so how can we receive that life transforming power? Is it only available for a few selected Christians or to every believer? How does the Holy Spirit’s power work in a believer’s life?

During the end of his earthly ministry, Jesus promised his disciples that he was returning to his father and he will send them another Counselor or comforter to be with them forever. John 14:16-17 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” He also promised, Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

According to that promise on the day of Pentecost i.e fifty days after Jesus rose from the dead, the Holy Spirit came in power upon a group of 120 frightened and dejected disciples, transforming them into world changers. They went out and preached the message of the gospel fearlessly. The same power transformed a hardcore murderer Saul into Paul on the road of Damascus. After he was transformed he became a missionary to the Gentile world. Paul while writing to Romans shares how the power of the Holy Spirit works in the life of a believer aiding him in his struggle against sin. Let’s read Romans 8:5-16.

I Sin controlled life:” (Romans 8:5-8)
“Those who live according to the sinful nature (the flesh) have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.”

Paul warned the Romans about the dangers of a flesh(old nature/sinful nature) controlled life. If we live by the flesh our minds are set on what that nature desires. What the flesh desires is often contrary to God’s laws. The flesh rebels against God because it doesn’t submit to God. If we are obsessed with sinful passions however pleasant and appealing they may be initially, in the end we will be consumed by those very passions. Let me illustrate.

Radio personality Paul Harvey tells the story of how an Eskimo kills a wolf. The account is grisly, yet it offers fresh insight into the consuming, self-destructive nature of sin. " First, the Eskimo coats his knife blade with animal blood and allows it to freeze. Then he adds another layer of blood, and another, until the blade is completely concealed by frozen blood. "Next, the hunter fixes his knife in the ground with the blade up. When a wolf follows his sensitive nose to the source of the scent and discovers the bait, he licks it, tasting the fresh frozen blood. He begins to lick faster, more and more vigorously, lapping the blade until the keen edge is bare. Feverishly now, harder and harder the wolf licks the blade in the arctic night. So great becomes his craving for blood that the wolf does not notice the razor-sharp sting of the naked blade on his own tongue, nor does he recognize the instant at which his insatiable thirst is being satisfied by his OWN warm blood. His carnivorous appetite just craves more--until the dawn finds him dead in the snow!"

It is a fearful thing that people can be "consumed by their own lusts." Only God's Spirit keeps us from the wolf's fate. Our life doesn’t have to end in tragedy. There is a much better way to live that is to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.

II. The Spirit Controlled life: (Romans 8:9-11)
“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”

After explaining the dangers of a life that is controlled by the flesh Paul reminds the Roman believers that they however were not controlled by the flesh but by the Spirit if only they let the Spirit of God live in them. When a sinner believes, his sins are forgiven; he is made righteous and henceforth, sin is not imputed to him. According to Romans 6: 6-7 “ For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin, because any one who has died has been freed from sin.” What it means is that the believer is to reckon himself “to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Sin is no more his master and the believer becomes the servant of righteousness. But should the believer become unwatchful i.e the old nature immediately manifests its presence and takes control.

We must keep this tension in balance that “we know what to do, yet we don’t do it. What would stop the flesh from gaining control over us again? It is the power of the Holy Spirit. The power which raised Christ from the dead will give power to our mortal bodies by indwelling in us. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

What does it mean to honor God with our bodies? How does this play out in our day to day life? When we realize that we are not our own but belong to Christ and the Holy Spirit is living in us, our whole outlook on life changes. We are careful in what we watch on the TV/Internet. We take care of our bodies we don’t abuse them by indulging in sinful passions. We will develop healthy eating habits. We will exercise regularly to keep ourselves fit for his service. We use our tongues to build and encourage others and not to gossip and tear others down even when we think we have reason to do so. We will have better worth ethics, whatever we put our hands to do we will do with excellence as if we are doing it onto the Lord. We stay committed to our spouses. We will be better husbands and love our wives as Christ loved the Church, and we respect and honor our husbands as the biblical women honored their husbands. We will obey our parents in the Lord. We conduct honest business and a host of other things we do that are pleasing to God.

III. Contrast between the flesh and the Spirit (8:12-15)
“Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation-- but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, Abba Father

Paul laid out a vivid description of a life that is controlled by flesh and a life that is controlled by the Spirit. How could you tell whether you are living by the flesh or by the Spirit? There is a night and day difference between them. When I am operating by the flesh, I become self indulgent, irritated, fault finding, selfish, less tolerant, angry, grumpy and unpleasant to be around. When I operate by the Spirit I am the opposite. Usually the ones who are closer to you are able to tell the difference. If your wife, husband and children are not seeing the evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in you then you are not probably living by the Spirit. It’s time to take a reality check

There are different ways to gauge whether you are living by the flesh or by the Spirit: Take a look at your habits are they God honoring? How is your spending? Are you a spend thrift? Are you a impulsive spender or a wise spender? When we go for shopping we pray and ask God to lead us to do wise shopping. How is your giving to Church and mission’s work? Do you regularly read God’s word? How is your prayer life? Are you excited to serve God? How much time do you spend watching TV? Are your growing in the fruit of the Spirit?

What is the fruit of the Spirit? Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Paul is consistent with his message to the believers both in Rome and in Galatia. He knows the devastating effects of sinful passions and desires and he also knows the blessings that are accompanied by living by the Spirit.

If we live by the flesh we experience death, death to our relationships, joy, health and eventually untimely death, where as when we live by the Spirit we experience peace, joy, and we love what is good and hate what is evil.

IV How to receive God’s transforming Power?
God’s power is available to all of his children. If you have not already become a child of God how can you become one? All you have to do is to believe that you are a sinner, Christ died for your sins, he was buried and after three days he rose again, then ask God to forgive your sins and invite him to come into your heart, when you do that you become the child of God and he becomes our father. What a powerful father we have.

God’s power has broken the power of sin and death 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. According, to Ephesians 1:19, “his incomparably great power is available for us who believe.” When such power is made available to each of his children isn’t it ironic that many of his children are living sin filled and defeated lives?

Are you sick and tired of sin in your life? You can tap in to the source of God’s power today. You may be asking how I can receive the power of the Holy Spirit? Jesus made it very clear to us how God’s children can receive the Holy Spirit by this analogy. Luke 11:11-13 "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

“May the Lord save us through the washing of rebirth by pouring the Holy Spirit generously in us through Jesus Christ our Savior. (Titus 3:5-7) Amen