Sunday, September 26, 2010


During World War II, England needed to increase its production of coal. Winston Churchill called together labor leaders to enlist their support. At the end of his presentation he asked them to picture in their minds a parade which he knew would be held in Piccadilly Circus after the war. He said, first would come the sailors who had kept the vital sea lanes open. Then the soldiers who had come home from Dunkirk and then gone on to defeat Rommel in Africa. Then the pilots who had driven the Luftwaffe from the sky. Last of all, he said, would come a long line of sweat-stained, soot-streaked men in miner's caps. Someone would cry from the crowd, 'And where were you during the critical days of our struggle?' And from ten thousand throats would come the answer, 'We were deep in the earth with our faces to the coal. "

Isn’t it always the case? The big guys get all the glory and the little guys are often ignored or even ridiculed. We bring the same worldly understanding when it comes to ministry and serving God. We carry certain wrong notions about ministry. We tend to think that ministry is only done by highly gifted people and it has to be done in public, such as public preaching, singing, music, dance, drama etc. No doubt there is a place for public ministry. But where did we get the notion that ministry has to be glamorous? Isn’t it true that more often than usual the church’s mission is accomplished by people with their "faces to the coal" It is not the mega stars, but the unsung heroes who work tirelessly behind the scenes. In God’s service there is no one insignificant and no job is too small. Every one has a role to play and every small act counts in building the Church. What role do you play in our Church?

Where do we draw our inspiration from for service, none other than our servant King Jesus, who modeled a different style of leadership? Let’s look at what the Bible says about servant hood. What does it mean to serve God? What are the practical ways to get involved in our Church and community?

In our post modern world the word servant is not a glamorous word. It doesn’t always carry a positive connotation. It is often associated with slavery and oppression. Most people would rather be leaders but would they want to be servants? Yet throughout the Bible we have numerous examples of men and women who understood their role and life’s calling as the servants of the most high God. What is your understanding of servant hood?

When God delivered the children of Israel from their slavery what was his primary reason? We find the answer in the message he had asked Moses to deliver to Pharaoh. “Let my people go that they may serve me.” (Exodus 9:1) What did God require of Israel? In Deut 10:12-13, “And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” What does he require from us today? It is not that we are doing a big favor to God by serving him, in actuality as the scriptures suggest, serving God is “for our own good.” (Vs 13)

Joshua in his farewell speech challenged the Israelites with these words “Fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness.” We hear him say these famous words in Joshua 24:15, “But as for me and my household we will serve the LORD,” In other words Joshua was saying, even if all Israel had failed to serve God, I and my household are determined to serve God only and not all the idols that the Israelites were blindly running after.

In the New Testament the apostles saw themselves as servants of God. One of them was the Apostle Paul. The most learned of them all, he wrote thirteen books of the Bible. He didn’t see himself as a scholar rather called himself a “bond servant of Christ” Romans 1:1, Titus 1:1, which literally means “a slave of Christ”, A slave of Christ? For some people this may be unthinkable.

Before we answer that question let’s look at the meaning of the word servant. In Old English the word servant is used for a domestic worker. A domestic worker is someone who works within the employer's household. Domestic workers perform a variety of household services for an individual or a family, from providing care for children and elderly dependents to cleaning and household maintenance, known as housekeeping. Responsibilities may also include cooking, doing laundry and ironing, food shopping and other household errands."

The word servant" in our English New Testament usually represents the Greek doulos (bondslave). Sometimes it means diakonos (deacon or minister); this is strictly accurate, for doulos and diakonos are synonyms.
Both these words denote a man who is not at his own disposal, but is his master's purchased property. Bought to serve his master's needs, to wait on his master’s call every moment, the slave's sole business is to do as he is told. As slaves did not have rights, how about us now that we belong to Him? We are not our own we have been bought by a price.(I Cor 6:19-20).

The Apostle Paul reminded the Roman believers that once they were slaves to sin, but now they were set free from sin and have become slaves to God.” Romans 6:22. Therefore Christian service means, first and foremost, living out a slave relationship to one's Savior. We surrender our lives to God; we will make Jesus as LORD of our lives. I realized when I gave my life to God I became his slave. I am his bond slave which means I forgo all my rights. I learn to say Lord not my will but let your will be done. If Paul saw himself as a slave of Christ, how do you to look at yourself? We have an open invitation from Paul to imitate him (I Cor 4:16) In fact he urges us to follow his example as he followed Christ’ example. (I Cor 11:1)


In India it is popularly said, “Manav seva, Prabhu seva–Serving man is serving God,” There is some truth in it. But they take it to another extreme thinking that by serving people they can obtain salvation. Where as in Christianity we don’t serve people in order to get saved but because of it. Jesus placed a great value in serving people by being kind and caring to them. He indirectly attributed, when we serve people in one way we are serving Him. In Matthew 25 we read, how God would separate people as a shepherd would separate sheep from goats. The King will send people either to heaven or hell based on what they have done or not done to the poor and the needy. He tells the righteous, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, and you did for me.” When we serve people we won’t loose our reward.

You see me serving as a Pastor, sharing God’s word each Sunday from the pulpit, but that was not how I began my ministry. As a young Christian I wanted to serve God, but I didn’t know how. I went to my pastor and asked him if there was any way I could serve God; he gave me an opportunity to serve in the Church. My job was to lay the mats on the floor, placing the song books and collecting them back after Sunday service. That was my introduction to serve God. In YWAM I did all kinds of manual jobs including cleaning toilets. Some of you want to serve God, but you are looking for great opportunities of ministry to fall down from heaven. It doesn’t work that way. Don’t wait for great doors to open up for ministry. You can start today. Begin small, find something useful to do in the Church. As you are faithful in little things God can entrust you with bigger responsibilities.

All of us have equal opportunities to serve God. If you are looking for opportunities to serve in the Church you may want to consider helping in any one of these areas. Our church can certainly benefit by your voluntary service. We need, greeters, ushers, nursery workers, Sunday school teachers, help with sound system and computers, creating church bulletins, power point, singers and musicians, youth workers, help with hospitality, kitchen and Sunday refreshments, outreach events, Good news club, maintenance tasks, lawn mowing, gardening, once the winter begins, help with plowing the snow, cleaning the parking lot.

As the saying goes, “where there is a will there is a way” If you have a desire to serve we can find you something to serve. I am aware that many in our Church voluntarily give many hours of their time to serve in the Church, but others I believe need to take the encouragement from the scriptures and start getting involved.

If you are a follower of Christ you can’t just sit on the fence and watch others do all the work. There are no spectators in the Kingdom of God. If our master and Lord worked and served are we expected to anything less? Gal 5:13, tells us, “to serve one another in Love” How can we do that?
We have a great example in our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus preached, and lived out a different kind of authority and showed a different way to become great. He condemned the so called popular way of becoming great by these words, in Mark 10:41-45, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus is showing us a way how to become a leader. He is insisting that any one who wants to become great in life or a great leader they must become servants first. How many so called Leadership development institutes and pundits would promote this style of leadership? Let me share an illustration on servant leadership:

During the American Revolution a man in civilian clothes rode past a group of soldiers repairing a small defensive barrier. Their leader was shouting instructions, but making no attempt to help them. Asked why by the rider, he retorted with great dignity, "Sir, I am a corporal!"
The stranger apologized, dismounted, and proceeded to help the exhausted soldiers. The job done, he turned to the corporal and said, "Mr. Corporal, next time you have a job like this and not enough men to do it, go to your commander-in-chief, and I will come and help you again." It was none other than George Washington. What humility for a world class leader?

In closing let’s look at how Christ modeled servant hood. Let me highlight a few verses from John 13th Chapter. Do you remember the story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples? It took place towards the end of Jesus’ mission on earth. Jesus was fully aware where he came from and where he was going. He also knew that the father had given him the power over all things. He got up from the meal, took of his outer garments, wrapped a towel around his waist began to wash the feet of the disciples and dried them with the towel that was wrapped around him. It required humility for Jesus to wash the feet of his disciples.

To this astonished group of disciples he said, John 13:12-17, “Do you understand what I have done for you? He asked them. You call me teacher and Lord and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and teacher have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth; no servant is greater than his master… Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.(John 13:12-17).

Serving God is indeed a great blessing for us. What is that blessing? In John 12:26, he said, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and wherever I am my servant also will be. My father will honor the one who serves me.” When we serve Christ faithfully, the greatest blessing both here on earth and in heaven is his presence. My hope is that in the end when we all get to heaven will we hear our master say, “well done, good and faithful servant…Come and share your master’s happiness? (Matt 25:21)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

IN SEARCH OF THE TRUTH(Life in Christ Series) John 3:1-16

In his book, An Anthropologist on Mars, neurologist Oliver Sacks tells about Virgil, a man who had been blind from early childhood. When he was 50, Virgil underwent surgery and was given the gift of sight. But as he and Dr. Sacks found out, having the physical capacity for sight is not the same as seeing. Virgil's first experiences with sight were confusing. He was able to make out colors and movements, but arranging them into a coherent picture was more difficult. Over time he learned to identify various objects, but his habits--his behaviors--were still those of a blind man. Dr. Sacks asserts, "One must die as a blind person to be born again as a seeing person. It is the interim, the limbo . . . that is so terrible."

During Jesus’ time there was a group of people who thought that they understood matters concerning God, but they didn’t realize that they were spiritually blind. Jesus didn’t have many good words to say of them; he called them, “blind guides, blind fools” In the gospel of John 3rd chapter there was the story of a man named Nicodemus. He was a very learned man and a respected leader in his community. He had read and heard about Jesus and even saw a few miracles performed by Jesus, but he failed to see Jesus as the Savior of the world let alone his own Savior.

Similarly, we may have heard and read about Christ, come to Church and seen him perform miracles in our lives yet we don’t see him as the Savior of our lives. What does it take to truly see Jesus and understand his truth? To truly see Jesus and understand his truth means more than observing what he did or said, it means a change of identity. Let’s see how Christ changed the identity of Nicodemus who came in search of the Truth.

When last time did you hear the name Nicodemus? No one names their boys Nicodemus these days? But it was a fairly common Greek name during Jesus’ time. It has beautiful meanings. From Hebrew it means “victory, Innocent blood” In Greek it meant “conqueror of the people” What do we know about Nicodemus? There isn’t a whole lot written about him in the Bible except for a few references in the gospel of John. He was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin who probably became a disciple of Jesus. He was described by Jesus as “the teacher of Israel, implying he was well trained in Old Testament law and tradition. He was also a member of the Jewish ruling council. From the outside he seemed to be having everything but on the inside he was lost and searching for the truth.

Why did Nicodemus come to see Jesus at night? The scripture doesn’t give us specific reasons why. He chose to come at night perhaps because he may have been afraid of the ridicule from his fellow Jewish council members He may have come to clarify with Jesus, questions he had regarding the miracles he had heard and seen or he may have come to have a long dialogue about his teachings. In the same way Christians come to Church for all kinds of reasons. Some come to meet friends, others to make friends, some come because of the music, others come because they like the preaching and still others come because they want to have fellowship. Whatever may be the reason why Nicodemus came to Jesus did he get what he wanted or what he needed?

Nicodemus took time to come and see Jesus. These days people are so busy that they can’t find time to be with God. When he came he said to Jesus Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” It looks like he acknowledged that Christ was performing the supernatural miracles by the help of God. Christ was not flattered by that statement; neither did he give an explanation. In reply he said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is “BORN AGAIN.” What does it mean to be born again?

I grew up all my life in a Christian home, went to Church regularly, read the Bible, but never accepted Christ as my Savior until the age of seventeen. When I look back I wonder why it took me seventeen years before I made a commitment to follow Christ.

We live in an age where we have an overload of information. There is no scarcity of preachers, books, TV programs, music CD’s, Christian websites and blogs through which the message of the gospel is being preached 24/7. Inspite of all that one wonders, why people reject Christ and the claims of the Bible? Remember when Peter confessed you are the Christ the Son of the living God, Jesus said to him in Matthew 16:17,"Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven." Peter knew that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, was because of divine disclosure, divine revelation. 1 Cor12: 3 which says, "No man can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Spirit of God." The conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus reveals that no one can see the Kingdom of God unless they are born again or regenerated.

When Jesus said you must be born again, Nicodemus had no clue what Jesus was talking about and how one can be born again. He asked, “how can a man be born when he is old? Surely he can’t enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born. We often hear preachers saying you must be born again.

What is it, to be born again? The Greek adverb translated “again” can also mean “from the beginning) suggesting a new creation and “from above” that is from God. In other words, Jesus told Nicodemus that physical birth was not enough, nor could his descent from the line of Abraham enable him to be saved. Only as a person has a spiritual regeneration-(a spiritual birth) from above will he be able to see the Kingdom of God.

Why is it important that we all must be born again or spiritually regenerated? Paul gives a reason why a natural man can not understand the things of God. I Cor 2:14, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” In other words an un-generated man can not understand the things of God. No wonder why so many people though they hear the gospel over and over again are not able to make any sense of it. Martin Luther put it this way, "Man is like a pillar of salt, like Lot's wife, yea like a log, or a stone, like a lifeless statue which uses neither eyes nor mouth, neither sense nor heart, until he is enlightened, converted and regenerated by the Holy Spirit." A natural man can not understand God unless he is enlightened by the power of the Holy Spirit. One of the works of the Holy Spirit is to convict people of their sins and lead them to all the truth.

Traditionally there have been two ways by which people looked for salvation. I Cor 1:22, “Jews demand miraculous signs, and the Greeks look for wisdom.” The Jews looked for signs, wait a minute didn’t Christ gave them sign after sign after sign? Yes but they were looking for the biggest sign, they were looking for a Messiah who could topple the Roman Empire and sets up his own Kingdom. For the Jews Christ dying at the hands of the Romans was unthinkable. That’s why even today most Jews reject Christ as the Messiah. Just like the Jews we too have seen so many signs of God and yet some fail to accept Christ as their Savior. On the other hand the Greeks searched for wisdom. What does that mean? They sought intricate, complicated, profound, complex philosophies. They laughed at the simplicity of the Gospel and the unbelievable idea of a crucified God who was to be worshipped.

The message of the cross is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to Greeks but to those who are being saved it is the power of God. In other words, you may have all the evidences one can ever have or all the wisdom that one could ever acquire, none of these is going to save you. If seeking for signs and searching for wisdom can not save us then how else can we be saved?

The Bible makes it very clear that all of us no matter who we are have sinned against God and have missed the mark. Christ came into this world to restore the lost sinners back to God through his death and his resurrection. You may be asking, what must I do in order to be saved? That is the whole point, you don’t have to do anything to earn your salvation because Christ did it all for us. All you need to do is to believe in the one who died for you.

According to Romans 8:9-10, “That is you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead. Your will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” These verses give me the assurance of salvation. When I confess that Jesus is LORD with my mouth and believe in my heart that God raised him from the dead I am saved. What does that mean? It means that God treats me as if I have never sinned in my life. Now I can stand in his presence justified and being made righteous by the righteousness of Jesus Christ. In other words my old life has passed away and now I become a new person. My spirit has been regenerated so now I can understand God and his truth.

Nicodemus thought he could understand God through his wisdom. He came searching for the truth but in the end he received more than what he bargained for. He became born again. In other words he was transformed. He became a sincere disciple of Christ. Two more times we hear of Nicodemus. In John: 7:50 we read how he tried to defend Jesus from the hands of those who were trying to kill him. The next time we hear of him was only after the crucifixion. John 19:38-39, “Later, Joseph of Armathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus…He was accompanied by Nicodemus the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh, and aloes, about seventy five pounds (a very large amount, such as was used in royal burials.) What a fitting tribute to Jesus from these two followers. When all his close disciples ran away these two gave Jesus a royal burial. Nicodemus came as an intellectual skeptic but transformed by the Love of Christ and remained as a loyal follower of Christ till the end.

I hear some of you saying, oh great it is good for him, but I have other things to do, I am too young I have much more life in front of me to enjoy. I don’t have time to worry about this God stuff, I will think about it when I become old. If that’s what you are going through, let me warn you, you may be sorry in the end because you never know when your life will come to an end. Studies tell us it is harder for older people to accept Christ as their savior. Listen to these statistics, “Nineteenth century Scottish preacher Horatius Bonar asked 253 Christian friends at what ages they were converted. Here's what he discovered:
Under 20 years of age - 138
Between 20 and 30 - 85
Between 30 and 40 - 22
Between 40 and 50 - 4
Between 50 and 60 - 3
Between 60 and 70 - 1
Over 70 – 0

This is not to say that older people can never get saved, it only means that the older you grow the harder it becomes. That’s why the preacher exhorted the young people with these words. In Ecc 12: 1-2, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come.” This great gift of salvation is for people of all ages, genders and races. Listen to these famous words of Jesus in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The only way you can have true joy, peace, freedom from sin and enjoy meaningful relationships and enter into eternal life with God after you die is by believing in Jesus Christ. If you are searching for the truth, and never made a decision in your life to follow Christ don’t put it of to another day it may be too late. Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.Psalm 95:8. Now is the day of salvation.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Unlike any other person in the history of mankind the name of Jesus evokes undue criticism by his opponents and great admiration by his followers. In a 1983 Gallup poll Americans were asked "who do you think Jesus is?" 70% of those interviewed said Jesus was not just another man. 42% stated Jesus was God among men. 27% felt Jesus was only human but divinely called. 9% states Jesus was divine because he embodied the best of humanity. Though this research is quite old it does give us a picture of what Americans think about Jesus.

The great British scholar C.S Lewis who understood this matter writes, “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I am ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic –on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your Choice. Either this man was and is the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.”

Jesus himself had his own opinion poll. One day he wanted to find out what the crowds were thinking about him so he asked his disciples, “Who do people say I am?” they replied “some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others say Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” But, what about you? He asked who do you say I am? Simon Peter answered “You are the Christ, “the son of the living God (Matt 16:13-16).

Just like in Jesus’ time, even today people have conflicting opinions of who Jesus really is. The Muslims believe he is one their many prophets. The Jews reject him as their messiah, the Catholics would rather pray to mother Mary or to St. Anthony than to pray to Jesus. The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that he was a created being therefore he is inferior to God. The Hindu’s can accept him as one among their millions of gods. The skeptics and atheists deny his very existence in the first place. And for many others he was a great teacher and a religious leader. What would you say? Is he all the above as people tend to think? Whose opinion will you believe? Is Christ a liar, lunatic or God as he claimed to be?

One early morning at 2:45 A.M I woke up with three words flashing in my mind they were “Life In Christ” I couldn’t go back to sleep after that, I felt like God was saying to me to speak about the life of Christ so that people can find their “Life In Christ” I wrote down various themes centered on Christ. You may be wondering I am already a Christian why I should I know more about him? As Peter would say “I will always remind you and refresh your memory so that you will be firm in the truth you now have.” Why should you know more about Christ? Because the times we are living in demands a response from us.

Let me attempt to explain Jesus the mystery of God. In doing so I realize that I don’t know every thing about Christ and what all he did on earth. The gospels only give us a glimpse of how Jesus lived and what he did during his time on earth. As John the gospel writer rightly said, “There are so many other things Jesus did. If they were all written down, each of them one by one, I can’t imagine a world big enough to hold such a library of books.” (John 21:25, the Message) We could easily spend a whole year discovering Jesus. For today we will try and answer the question, “Is Jesus Christ God, or only human? And what does the Bible say about it?

I once had a discussion with a young man who wanted to discuss the fifth step in a twelve step program of Alcoholic Anonymous. The fifth step suggests, “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” I asked him who God is. He said that God is some “Higher or super power” which controls everything. That’s where the AA got it wrong. How do they read their third step, “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of god as we understood Him.” This seem to suggest that God is neither a force nor a super power but a person. That makes sense doesn’t it? Otherwise what a foolish thing is to turn our will and our lives to some wind or an abstract power which we can not know personally but supposedly controlling and guiding everything that happens in the world. What a shaky foundation to start with? In order to answer the question is Christ divine or human? I will be looking into the Prophetic evidence, the claims of Christ, the Pharisee’s plot and the apostles teaching.

No prophecy foretold the coming of Buddha, Confucius or Muhammad. Yet there are hundreds concerning Jesus Christ. Remember these prophecies were spoken and recorded hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth. Let’s look at a few of these prophecies:
Isaiah prophesied in 680 B.C saying, “For to us a child is born to us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders. And will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
Isaiah 61:1-2, “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,” Remember, upon reading the same text from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah in the synagogue Jesus said, “today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”(Luke 4:21)

Zachariah prophesied about the second coming of Christ around 520 B.C, saying, “Then the LORD my God will come and all the Holy ones with Him.”(Zech14:5) Jesus confirmed these words when he said, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, and he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.” (Matt 25:31). There are many more prophecies in the OT referring to Christ being God.


Huge crowds followed Jesus for obvious reasons; among them were the experts of the law and the Pharisees. They were amazed by the way Jesus was drawing the attention of the public. So they plotted to kill Jesus? Why did they want to kill him? Was it the miracles? Or the breaking of the Sabbath? Or simply the huge fan fare? I don’t think any of the above, though they may have been the irritants, the main reason was blasphemy. According to the OT law “If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible; anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord must be put to death. The entire assembly must be put to death” (Lev 24:15-16) This law is called the Sharia law and it is still in practice in many Islamic countries.

On one occasion certain Jews asked him “tell us plainly if you are the Christ. Jesus answered, I did tell you, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, I have shown you many great miracles from the Father, for which of theses do you stone me? We are not stoning you for any of these, replied Jews, but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” (John 10:26-33). Though the Pharisees did not believe that Christ was the messiah, through their plot to kill him they un-intentionally confirmed the fact that Jesus was indeed God.

The apostle John was one of the twelve disciples who was also called the beloved of the Lord. He wrote the Gospel of John around the first century. The purpose of this Gospel is to report the signs, usually called miracles in other Gospels, so that the reader might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through believing, he might obtain life eternal. (John 20:30-31). The word “believe (trust, adhere to, rely on)” occurs 98 times throughout this book. Knowing Christ is not an intellectual exercise but it is a matter of belief and faith. The assured result of this belief or faith in Jesus Christ is the possession of eternal life.

The gospel of John begins with these words: “In the beginning (before all time) was the Word (Christ) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. He was present originally with God… In Him was Life and the Life was the Light of Men. (John 1:1-4). Jesus is introduced in chapter one as the “Word” Logos. This indicates that Christ was with God in the beginning in the form of the Word. As God spoke let there be light, “it was the Word” created the light. John recognized Christ was the creator when he said, in Vs 3“All things were made and came into existence through Him; and with out Him was not even one thing made that has come into being.”

The apostle Paul writes in Col 1:15-19 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven, and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things and in him all things hold together…for God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.” Paul clearly saw that Christ was God.
In Hebrews 1:2-4 “But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” This scripture suggests that Christ came into the world to reveal God to us, but is that all? or has he actually claimed that he himself is God?


Jesus never doubted his divinity neither did he ever deny that he was God. He made several direct and indirect references regarding his divinity. Do you remember, when Moses asked God what his name was; what did God say? “I AM WHO I AM, This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I’ AM has sent you.”(Exodus 3:14) I’AM is one of the names given to God. John recorded Seven “I AM” claims of Christ to prove that he indeed is God.
1. “I am the bread of life” John 6:35, 48. Jesus doesn’t simply give bread but he is bread.
2. “I am the light of the world” 8:12, 9:5 The Pharisees challenged him on that.
3. “I am the door of the sheep” 10:7. In other words he can lead us to God
4. “I am the good shepherd” 10:14-18. This confirms the words of Isaiah, “He tends his flock like a shepherd.”(Isaiah 40:11)
5. “I am the resurrection and the Life” 11:25. This is to say Christ has control over his life.
6. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” 14:6. Jesus is the means to and the embodiment of eternal life.
7. “I am the true vine” 15:1, 5. Jesus again emphasizes that he is the source of life and the importance of abiding in him so that we might live and bear fruit.
None of these seven “I AM” statements provoked the Pharisees as much as these two statements. John 8:28, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be.” Here Jesus is calling his hearers to believe that he was the “I AM” (God). John 8:58, “Truly, truly I say to you before Abraham was born, I am.” Friedrich Buchsel comments, “Whatever significance we may attach to Jesus’ words, it is instructive to observe the reaction of the Jews: “So they took up stones to throw at him.” Evidently regarding his statement as a blasphemous claim to equality with God or in other words, a claim to deity.”

The main points once again. The prophets prophesied that Christ was God, the Pharisees plotted to kill him because he claimed to be God and the apostles believed and taught that Christ was and is and will always be God. One may argue all these three evidences and write them off saying these are bunch of illusions, but who can argue what Christ says about himself? Whether we believe any one else’s report about Jesus or not we must believe Jesus’ very own words. They are undeniably true.

When we believe in Jesus our lives can be transformed. Let me close with the words spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ. He said, “Truly, truly, I say unto you he who hears my word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and does not come into judgment but has passed from death to life.”(John 5:24). Do you want to receive that eternal life? Believe in Jesus. Amen

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I want to share a story told by Loren Cunningham in his book, Daring to Live on the Edge. It is about a conversation that took place between the pilot and “Cleveland Center, this is 346 Alpha Charley. I’m at 10,500 feet. I’m in the clouds…not instrument rated. Would like radar vectors. Out.”
—“Six Alpha Charley, Cleveland. Roger. Understand you are not instrument rated. Set transponder code 4582 for radar identification. What is your heading now, sir?”
“Six Alpha Charley is heading 250 degrees. Say again code. It’s rough. I’m getting disoriented….I can’t see the ground!”
—“Six Alpha Charley, Cleveland, Set code 4582. Concentrate on you attitude indicator, sir. Keep you wings level and reduce power to start a slow descent. We have you on radar contact.”
“I’m losing control…losing it…turning…I’m going to spin! I’m spinning! Which way! Help! Help!”
—“Six Alpha Charley, release your controls, Sir! Look at your attitude indicator. Opposite rudder, opposite rudder…”
“Help! Help! I can’t stop.…”
—“Six Alpha Charley, Six Alpha Charley, do you read?”
—“Radar contact is lost.” Eventually the small plane crashed, killing the Pilot
The investigation of this crash revealed that nothing was wrong with the flight instruments in N346 Alpha Charley. The pilot, untrained to fly without outside visual references, became disoriented and lost control of his aircraft. His instrument panel contained all the information he needed to complete his flight safely.

What was lacking? The training and discipline to ignore what his instincts were telling him and to fly only by reference to an outside source of information: his instruments. Which way was up? The reality he perceived as true was false. His senses had betrayed him, and it cost him his life.

The Pilots are trained not to trust in their instincts rather to depend on the outside source of information in order to avoid a possible mid air collision and an eventual crash. Living by faith in the area of finances is like flying the airplane on instruments. In our journey the view ahead may be murky and bleak, but we can stay right side up and on the course with the correct information. That source of outside information is the word of God. The written word of God gives us several principles to guide our finances. Whether you work 60 hrs a week, run your own business or you are starting a career as a missionary you can keep yourself from crashing.

Among many commandments that Jesus gave to his disciples, not to worry is one of them. In the sermon on the Mount he dedicated a big portion of his time on dealing with worry. After exhorting them not to store up treasures on the earth but instead store up treasures in heaven, he directly issued a command not to worry about money. Perhaps you are currently facing a financial crisis. Listen to the assuring words of Jesus. Matt 6:25-34, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air….Your heavenly father feeds them… Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? If God could provide for birds in the air he can certainly provide for you.

In the parable of the sower, and the seed, Jesus pointed that what happens to the seed that fell among the thorns, he compared it to men who heard the “truth of God’s word but as they go on their way they are choked with worries, and riches and pleasures of this life.” As a result they never bear fruit for God. (Luke 8:14)

It is true worrying for money and love of money can choke our faith, and can rob the joy of trusting God. When we worry, in one way we are saying, God you are a liar you can’t be trusted with my needs. Someone said, worry is faith in the Devil. Why are we commanded not to worry? As Chuck Swindoll says, “Worry pulls tomorrow's cloud over today's sunshine.” Not only that according to Psalm 37:8, worry leads to evil. David encourages us to trust God, instead of worrying. He gives us a piece of advice based on his experience, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.”(Psalm 37:25). This has been one of my life verses and it has worked for me so far.

Whether your financial worries are the result of some out of control circumstances such as the current economic meltdown and layoffs or the result of poor choices and mismanagement of finances the command not to worry about money still stands the same. When you ask God he will show you what steps to take to get out of your financial mess. You may also need to consult a financial counselor and take the steps of repentance if you have handled finances poorly. Do not be anxious.

According to Ian Maclaren, “Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but it does empty today of its strength. It does not make you escape the evil; it makes you unfit to cope with it when it comes. God gives us the power to bear all the sorrow of His making, but He does not guarantee to give us strength to bear the burdens of our own making such as worry induces.” Choosing not to worry requires will power and it doesn’t come easily.

Hudson Taylor the missionary to China in the 19th century learned to trust God to take care of his needs. He once said, “Let us give up our work, our plans, ourselves, our lives, our loved ones, our influence, our all, right into [God's] hand; and then, when we have given all over to Him, there will be nothing left for us to be troubled about." I know letting go of everything into the hands of God is the scariest thing to do, but I believe it the safest thing to do because you will only be safe when you live in the center of God’s will.

Jesus exhorted his disciples not to worry about life and run after the things like the unbelievers do instead we are to seek his Kingdom and righteousness first. Seeking God’s Kingdom doesn’t mean being lazy and financially irresponsible. God is honored when we are diligent in our work and responsible with our finances. Several scriptures talk about diligence in our work:

Prov 10:4-5 “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.”

Prov 12:24 “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor”

Prov 6:10 “ A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.”

I know this is a hard working congregation and I don’t think laziness is a problem here. This seemed to be a big problem in the Church in Thessalonica. Paul sternly warned those who were idle and chased fantasies and somehow expected the church to bail them out. I Thess 4:11-12, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” Paul went one step further and gave a rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”

Being responsible may mean to take a hard look at our spending patterns. One of the positive outcomes I have noticed during this financial crisis is that many have altered their lavish life styles to a more simplified life. They have realized that they can do more with less. People are rediscovering the sense in saving. They have discovered simple joys of being out in the nature, spending quality time with friends and family. Being responsible also means taking a stock of our income and monitoring our expenses. It also means budgeting, and having a payment plan to pay off our debts and loans. When we are diligent in work and responsible with our money we can avoid a financial crash.


Jesus gave us the parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:. Some people interpret talents in the parable to gifts and skills, but it is actually talking about money. In ancient times one talent would be worth of $1000 in today’s currency. The master in the parable gave to one five thousand and to the other two and to another one. He had expected that all three of them to invest and make profit but in the end only two of them invested wisely and earned more with their money and one person buried the money in the ground. When the master returned, he rewarded the two wise servants and reprimanded the third saying, “You wicked and lazy servant.”

This parable makes it clear that we have the obligation to do the best we can to make wise investments. Our money is to be used and grow to bring blessing to many. When we invest our money in the Kingdom of God we will see blessings. Blessings don’t always mean monetary blessings; it could be health, good relationships but above all souls getting saved and His Kingdom advancing in this world as a result of our investment.


Every Christian is to be generous because the God we serve is a generous God. The way God the father demonstrated His love for humanity was by giving his one and only son as ransom for many, Christ by giving his life on the cross, and the Holy Spirit by filling our hearts with his presence and giving us his fruit, which is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self control.(Gal 5:22) If that is how God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit demonstrated their love to us how are we to practically show how much we love God.? It is often by being generous in our giving. We give generously to show that we are grateful to him and we love him.

Does God need your money? Absolutely not, because it belongs to him any way like every thing else in the world. Haggai 2:8 “The silver is mine and the gold is mine declares the Lord.” Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in I, the world and all who live in it;” According to these two scriptures whatever wealth you think you have doesn’t belong to you in the first place not even yourself. Everything belongs to Him. Therefore it is appropriate for us to honor him with everything we have including our finances. You might be wondering were do I start when it comes to giving? The Bible gives us a starting place that is called tithing.

In the Old Testament God gave a command to the Israelite s that they were to bring ten percent of all their produce, cattle and all of their income into the store house of God, why? From the treasury in the Lord’s temple, the Levities (the priests) the poor and the needy, the orphans, the widows and the aliens (non Israelites) were to be taken care. The expenses for the maintenance of the temple would also come from the same account.

Malachi the last book of the OT deals with the blessings of tithing as well as the curses of not tithing. In fact God equals not tithing as robbing from God. He challenged the Israelites to bring their entire tithe into His house and then he will open the windows of heaven and pour down blessings upon them. God will pour his blessings beyond our imagination. The work of our hand (our Job/business) will be blessed. Some of us justify not tithing saying that it came after the Law and Christ has come to fulfill the Law therefore we are exempt from tithing. No! Tithing was mentioned in Genesis and continued throughout the Bible. Jesus made it clear that tithing was to continue without neglect (Matt 23:23). It was practiced in the New Testament Church.

Generosity doesn’t even enter into the picture until we go past the OT minimum requirement of the tithe. If we give only ten percent, that makes us one percent better than a thief. Sadly, many Christians haven’t yet stopped stealing the ten percent that rightfully belongs to God. In fact most Church goers do not tithe. When we give to God and the needs of God’s people we will not become poor. He will give us back hundred fold in return. Remember, how God provided for the needs, of the widow, her son and the prophet Elijah during the famine for three years? Because the widow, put the needs of God’s servant above her own needs.

Are you experiencing a financial crash? May be you don’t see how you can survive and pay all of your existing debts and put food on the table if you don’t have 100 percent of what little income you have. Don’t worry. I have good news for you. Trust God with your finances. I encourage you to start tithing from today if you haven’t been tithing and you will see the difference. God is challenging you to test him in this, so that he can pour down his blessings beyond your expectation.

“Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap. (Luke 6:38)Amen