Sunday, September 29, 2013


Someone has said that 90 percent of the work of a church is done by ten percent of the members. What do you think; could that be said of our Church too? In Mark Twain's book Tom Sawyer, young Tom is given the chore of whitewashing his Aunt Polly's fence. Tom grudgingly sets to work. As he paints, several acquaintances stop by. Each friend invites Tom to come and play, which certainly sounds like a lot more fun than painting a fence. Tom formulates a plan. If he can recruit some of his friends to help, the work will get done in half the time" Boy, your plans sound tempting," says Tom, "but I'm having way too much fun painting this fence." The idea that fence painting could be fun never occurred to Tom's friends until he made it look like an adventure.

If you know the story you'll remember that Tom ended up with a whole row of fence painters while he simply stood by and watched. Tom figured out that it takes one person a lot longer to complete a task than when many people pitch in.

Last week we learned that there are a lot of similarities in earthly families and the Church the family of God. One common thing is work. There's a lot of work in any family. Everyone must be fed, clothed, and organized. Likewise there is a lot of work too in the Church family. Who are called to do the work in the family of God? Is it only a handful of selected or elected individuals? In order to understand the dynamics of serving or working in the Church we will look at how the early Church practiced Christ’s model of servant hood, and hopefully by the end of our time we may understand what it is to serve as Christ Served in the family of God. Acts 2:42-47. The early Church in the Book of Acts Chapter 2 was founded by the power of the Holy Spirit. 
Believers from all walks of life and backgrounds were devoted to worship, prayer and fellowship. They impacted their community through a life style of evangelism. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to any one as he had need. It was a community well connected to God and to one another as a result the LORD kept adding to the Church daily those who were getting saved.

What do we see happening here? Without anyone orchestrating and legislating we see a beautiful ministry of sharing & caring in operation. If you’ve been long around in Christian circles you may heave heard the word called “Ministry”. The word ministry simply means “service” For our context we understand it in terms of Christian ministry or Christian service. What is biblical ministry and how do you understand it?


Let’s take in Paul’s holistic view of life and ministry in his letter to the Colossian Christians in Col. 3:12-24 Paul lays out requirements for biblical ministry such as, holiness, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. He emphasizes right relationships in marriage, family and in the Church that are foundations for Christian ministry. Every relationship presents an opportunity for service.  In fact if you are married and have a family, your family is you’re first and foremost field of ministry.
Later Paul writing to Timothy stresses certain requirements for elders. One of the criteria for ministry there is that they must manage their own family well, they must see that their children obey them with proper respect, because if anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s Church? (I Timothy 3:1-5) Here Paul poses a challenge for all those who are aspiring to serve in the Church. The challenge here is; our serving God depends on how well we serve our families. In other words do not abdicate your God given responsibilities at home before accepting responsibilities in Church!

Over the years in my ministry I have seen several Christians who become workaholics for God. They are very busy for God. Their lives were filled with serving, and trying to love other people while their families at home suffer. They feel guilty to take rest and enjoy meaningful relationships with their family. They sacrifice their family on the altar of ministry. On the other hand I have also seen a number of good Christians overly concerned about their own needs and their families needs. They attend church and tithe regularly but never get involved in the Church. Both positions are not healthy. When it comes to serving whose model should we follow?  

Ministry is a distinctive Biblical idea which comes from a Greek word “doulos” this was the term used for a bond slave, one who was offered his freedom but voluntarily surrendered that freedom in order to remain a servant to the master he loved. In other words God never forces us to serve him. Ministry or service in Church is a voluntary choice. This idea typified Jesus’ purpose as described by Paul in Phil 2:6-7, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant(bond slave) being made in human likeness.” 

In Col 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Paul urges the slaves of those days to not to work for the approval of their earthly masters but with sincerity and respect, work for the Lord.  Isn’t that a redemptive view of work? 

Friends no matter how stress full your work place is, God may have placed you there for a purpose and you have an opportunity to lift your work to a whole different level of significance by doing it as unto the Lord. I believe that God calls all of us to serve him wholeheartedly; giving our best in the field of influence he has placed us.  However it is good to seek God, how you might specifically contribute your gifts to the building up of his Kingdom.

We want to model Christ in our servant hood. He voluntarily gave up everything in following the commandments of God. He maintained perfect balance. He worked hard all day preaching, teaching, casting out demons, healing the sick, and confronting the Pharisees. At times he prayed all night yet there are times where he stopped all ministry and rested. Not only he rested but encouraged His disciples to rest as well. Jesus modeled a ministry of compassion. He equated service to God with service to others. Remember the parable of the King separating the goat and the sheep at the end time in Matthew 25:31-46?

The essence of this parable is that when we minister to others who are in need we actually minister to Christ. And when we fail to do so we sin against God.  If we call ourselves followers of Christ then we become part of the family of God therefore we are called to follow his example. In reality all believers are “ministers’ therefore all believers are expected to serve without any exception. How can we serve in the family of God? If only we have the will to do it there will be no shortage of ways to do it.

In our text in Acts 2 we read how the early Church was involved in the ministry of compassion and of service. It was like one big family. They had everything in common, they voluntarily sold their possessions and goods, and they gave to any one as he had need. They genuinely loved and cared for each other. They were together and worked together for the common good of the rest of the family. We have learned that Church is like a family, the principles that apply to any family also apply to God’s family.

Let me illustrate. Let’s suppose you went for a dinner in a restaurant. There are people who wait on you. All you do is sit and order anything you want and in a matter of time it is brought to you. You can even complain about the food and they may put up with you. But that is not how it works at home in a family dinner, Right? You are called in to help set up the table; clean up your plates after you eat; at times you are expected to wash other members plates as well. You can’t bark order at your Mom; and say get me some ice cream!! Let alone complain about her food; otherwise your dad may have to say something to you.

What’s the difference here? It is the family; not the restaurant. In the restaurant you were treated like a special guest; whereas in the family you are one among the rest. You are expected to help out.  It works the same way in the family of God. You can’t remain a guest all the time; may be initially. But just like in any family you would be expected to share the work load. The best way of getting bonded with Church family is by way of getting involved in service. The sooner you participate in the church the sooner you feel like you belong here.

When we first joined Rivers Edge a small church plant in Malden in 2005, we offered our services as a family. My job was to place Church signs on the curb and collect them after the service. I did ushering, welcomed guests, collected and counted the offering and prayed every Sunday for three years. Wilma helped in the Sunday school. She also led Mom’s group. Together as a couple lead a small group at our house. Only after one year of serving did I get to preach in that Church for the very first time. In the process we felt at home with that church and were bonded with pastor’s family and till today we cherish their friendship.

My job as a Pastor at ECCOA is well defined, it is not to do all the ministry by myself but to equip you for works of service so that our Church may be built up (Eph 4:11-12). That is the reason why in our Church we do not encourage independent ministries; there is no room here for a one man or one woman show. We encourage team ministry. We must realize like Tom Sawyer did in the story. It takes one person a lot longer to complete a task than when many people pitch in.
Just recently Wilma and I cooked together a full meal and delivered it to someone within an hour. In the process we enjoyed working together and later realized the speed at which we worked because we each did our part.

If you consider this is your home church then you belong to this family. There are plenty of opportunities to serve such as: Hospitality, ushering, worship team, media, outreach, children’s ministry; sound and technology; communion set up etc. Or it could be teaching the Sunday school once a month or helping in the nursery or signing up to bring snacks for fellowship hour. Of course there are many more areas. If you have a desire to serve we have a place for you to serve.

Would you prayerfully consider where God would best have you serve, if so then take this information sheet sign it and hand it over to me or to anyone of the ministry leaders. Let’s together make a difference. Amen

Sunday, September 22, 2013


If I were to ask you what the Church is, what would you say? Is the church a building? Is it the place where believers gather to worship? Or is the church the people—the believers who follow Christ? How we understand and perceive the church is quite important in determining how we live out our faith.
I came across an interesting book titled, “Stop Dating the Church: Fall in love with the Family of God.” The author Joshua Harris addresses the casual attitudes of the church attendees, he notes, “Putting in their hour or two on the weekend, many Christians take the rest of the week off, neglecting the church and her needs. It’s not a serious relationship. Some shop around, looking for a church that suits their lifestyle. It’s dating, with no assurances, no obligations. He calls Christians to stop playing the field and commit, just as Christ is committed to us, His bride. He explores the ramifications of Ephesians 5:25–32, which proclaims the intensity and the breadth of Jesus Christ’s love for His church.”

God has designed us to build our lives around a local church; we cannot be indifferent or uninvolved. Rather, we must be in love with and committed to God’s plan and purpose through the church. How would you rate your love and commitment to the Church? Are you simply dating the church, or committed to the family of God? Out of all the metaphors used to describe Church in the Bible I like, “the family of God” the most as it best describes the nature, intention and the purpose of God. We will look at the Church as the family of God and see how that impacts our relationships with one another as well as our mission as a Church.


The concept of the family of God runs through both the Old and the New Testament. Here are a few scriptural examples: In Genesis 12 we read God calling Abraham from an idolatrous background and setting him apart from the rest of the people for His purposes. God commanded Abraham to leave his country, relatives and his father’s household and go to a distant land where He was going to make him a great nation and in him all the families of the earth will be blessed. So out of one man God formed a nation of people for himself they were called; the house hold of Israel or the children of Israel, later on they came to be known as the Jewish people.
In the OT God was known as the God of Israel and the Israelites were known as God’s children. Hosea 11:1-3, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more they were called, the more they went away from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them.”

This scripture so poignantly depicts the heart of God as the father of Israel and also the rebellious nature of His children. What started as an exceptional and exclusive family of God in the Old Testament which was primarily meant for the Jews became more expansive and all inclusive by the arrival of Jesus in the New Testament.
Though Jews rejected Jesus as their messiah; God has opened up the way for all nations and all families of the earth become a part of the family of God. Again, this is not an automatic inclusion of every one rather the admission to the family of God is based on individual’s faith in Christ. John 12:11-12, “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”  

In Ephesians Paul emphasizes the fact that the whole family of God derives its name from the father in heaven. “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family (the whole family referring to the family of God) in heaven and on earth derives its name.” Ephesians 3:15 The Greek word for family (patria) is derived from the Greek word for father (pater).

The family of God first and foremost is our heavenly father’s initiation. How can someone become a member of the family of God? It is by putting our faith in the son of God and his redemptive work on the cross one becomes a member of this huge family of God. I see a lot of similarities between an earthly family and the family of God the Church. In other words what makes or breaks a family also makes or breaks the family of God.


No one chooses their birth family; similarly it is God who chose us and adopted us as his sons and daughters, in His family that is the universal Church. However we can choose which local congregation we want to belong to and once that choice is made, stay committed to that particular church. In an earthly family there is structure and order for the better functioning of the family. God has established the five fold ministries, set up leadership structures such as deacons, and elders who would serve as God’s faithful representatives.

Parents are given the task to train and teach their children in the way they should go. In the family of God there must be discipleship and mentoring of new believers. The three key ingredients that make a family healthier are: Love, acceptance and forgiveness. I can not overemphasize the importance of those ingredients in the family of God. Earthly family is a place where children learn the joys of sharing and giving. These were the two key pillars in the early Church and must be present in every local Church even today.

However healthy an earthly family might be it is common to have fights, quarrels and conflicts among family members. Similarly in the family of God too we have fights, disunity, divisions, strife, quarrels and conflicts, however we are required to work through them in a peaceful God honoring way so that the name of God is not ridiculed among the heathen.

What makes an earthly family functional is obedience, and servant hood. The Church becomes healthy and makes an impact when the members learn to obey Christ’s commandments, as He was obedient to His father’s commandments and to walk in the path of servant hood as Christ modeled during His life time.

Though the family of God is universal in its scope, it is better expressed and functioned in a local setting which we call the local Church or local congregation. Let me talk about the local Church.


Hearing my case on the family of God being the universal Church some may justify their non commitment to a local church saying that they belong to the universal Church and why should they bother becoming members of a local church? My answer to them is, yes you are in one sense connected to the much larger family but at the same time your real growth takes place in a local Church not in isolation or moving from one church to another church.

Church can sometimes mean the universal church (made up of every Christian in the world), but most of the NT talks about a local church, ekklesia, which literally means to "call out."  The local church is an assembly of people who have been called out of the world by God's grace to be together for reflecting His glory and His character.

In the local church is where you receive the right teaching of the word. It is where you are baptized and brought into the communion with other brothers and sisters in the family. The local church is different from a seminary, a conference, a campus fellowship, a missionary trip, or a praise night.  While those things can be great, they can at most be called extensions of churches. I was part of a para church organization for a long time and however good and godly environment that YWAM provided it could never replace what a local church can provide. As a director of a YWAM centre I stressed that all staff members should be part of a local church of their choice.

In the setting of a local church you will be tried, tested, challenged, comforted, delivered, healed, protected and spiritually nurtured. In fact could it be that some of the emotional and relational growing up that we haven’t done in our families of origin might be happening right here in the local church setting?  If that is so it explains why Church can be so difficult because we put up with so and so with such and such habits and Church has to put up with you and me who also are still a work in progress.  But friends that also gives us glorious hope, that right here those ‘baby steps’ of forgiveness, forbearance, and believing against all hope are made so that we can become matured.

At Evangelical Congregational Church we endeavor to preach nothing but the full gospel. Here we honor the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In matters of life and conduct we place supreme value on the authority of Scriptures. We believe we can not do anything without of Him so we commit everything to God through prayer. We love people and practice hospitality. We are actively engaged in both local and global missions.

If you have been attending this Church for a long time or just visiting us for a short while, may I encourage you to prayerfully consider whether or not you become a member of this family of God expressed locally here in Quincy? So that together we will grow into all that God intends for us and together we will make a difference in our immediate neighborhoods of Quincy. Are you merely dating or madly in love with the Church? We can't be apathetic. Amen



Sunday, September 8, 2013


The new Pope Francis’ first talk was entitled, “The Church as the Family of God. Pope Francis exhorted Catholics and Christians all over the world of the importance of belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ in its various expressions. He said, “Let us ask ourselves today: how much do I love the Church? Do I pray for her? Do I feel myself a part of the family of the Church? What do I do to make the Church a community in which everyone feels welcomed and understood, [in which] everyone feels the mercy and love of God who renews life? Faith is a gift and an act that affects us personally, but God calls us to live our faith together, as a family: as the Church.”[1]

 Sadly, the fabric and the morals of the family in this country and the world over have been eroding in the past few decades. This affects all of the society including the Church. In the midst of these devastating trends it was appropriate for the pope to call the world back to the importance of family and especially the Church as the family of God.

After God, if there is one thing I am passionate about, it is my marriage and my family. I am a family man. I love my family. My family means the world the world to me.  But my passion doesn’t end there, I want to see other marriages and families thrive.  Why is it such a big deal you may ask? Today I would like to make a case for families in general ever more so for healthy families.  Later on we will talk about the Church as the family of God.  But for today let us look at the Bible says about families?

Can human beings survive without relationships? A small boy once asked, “Who did God love before there was a world?  He knew that God is love, and he wondered how God could live without someone to love! None of us can live without relationship.

It forms the very core of our humanity, and it is core of who God is too. He always lived in a joyful, loving relationship of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that we are made in his image; we are also designed to live in relationship.

God’s highest model of human relationship is marriage. These days several people are trying to redefine or rather reinvent a new definition of marriage. Can a few individuals or the Supreme Court really change what God has ordained and established since the ages past? As futile as their attempts may be they are bound to fail in the long run. What is God’s definition of marriage? We have to go back to the first marriage that was ever performed where God himself was present. In fact He alone orchestrated it (in those days there was no Christian as well as performed it. Let me take you to the first wedding scene.

After creating everything God saw it and said it was good, for the first time he ever said that something was not good was after he created man. It was not that man was not good but it was not good for him to be alone. So he fashioned the woman out of his rib and brought her before Adam. The man said, this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman for she was taken out of man.
Then God pronounced the wedding blessing with these words, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Thousands of years later Jesus reaffirmed it saying, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Mark 10:7)

This is what Mathew Henry the 18th century, most trusted and widely quoted commentator said of the first marriage: “Marriage is honorable, but this surely was the most honorable marriage that ever was, in which God himself had all along an immediate hand. Marriages (they say) are made in heaven: we are sure this was, for the man, the woman, the match, were all God’s own work; he, by his power, made them both, and now, by his ordinance, made them one. God, as her Father, brought the woman to the man, as his second self, and a help-meet for him. When he had made her, he did not leave her to her own disposal; no, she was his child, and she must not marry without his consent. The wife that is of God’s making by special grace, and of God’s bringing by special providence, is likely to prove a help-meet for a man.”[2]

We know the rest of the story: Adam slept with his wife Eve and she gave birth to her first Child. This was what she said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man. Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. That was the beginning of the first family. The structure of families runs throughout the pages of the Bible. The word family occurs 205 times in the Bible in comparison to the word community which occurs only 85 times. The term family is much more personal and intimate than community. Several scriptures explain that God wants people to live in families not as lone rangers.

Psalm 22:27, “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him.”  Psalm 96:7, “Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord Glory and strength.” These two scriptures indicate God’s intentions for all the families of the earth.

Does that mean that there is no place for singles in the over all plan of God?  No!   Singles too can find their satisfaction, fulfillment and purpose in God, the Bible gives us superb examples of such singles.  I think of the apostle Paul and the widow Anna, in fact the apostle Paul throws out a challenge for singlehood in 1 Corinthians chapter 7, he states that an unmarried man or woman is concerned about the Lord’s affairs –how he can please the Lord- But a married man or woman is concerned about the affairs of the world, how he or she can please his wife or her husband.  What do you think?

I do believe that some remain single and celibate due to a special call of God on their lives, others become single due to divorce or death of their spouse, many are single not out of choice while others do stay single out of choice. Whatever the cause for singleness may be, God’s design and intention is that people don’t remain lonely and isolated.  It was never good for a man to be alone then and it is never good for man to be alone now.

The following scriptures explain the heart of God for the single and lonely.  God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” Psalm 68:6, if not in a family of their own, in the family of God which we will look at later. How about the orphans, widows and who have lost their families? Does God care for them? God has made special provisions for this category of people: Ex 22: 22-24, “Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.”
By reading these scriptures we come to realize that God’s general intention is that men and women will make a family and create a loving, and nurturing environment for the over all well being of each other and the children they may receive. In return they will go out and build their own families where love, acceptance, forgiveness, peace and harmony are hallmarks. Families are the places we learn how to love, give, share, accept, forgive and serve one another. That is how God wants us to function. Yet many families are not functioning at all as God intended them to function.

Selfishness, pride, anger, un-forgiveness and bitterness have disrupted families and caused us to be alienated from God and each other.  The bitter conflicts and broken relationships we see, all too often reveal how far we’ve strayed from his original design.

God longs for us to have healthy relationships, and he gave abundant insights in his Word on how to keep them strong and healthy. What are the building blocks for healthy marriages and families? The building blocks are, love, trust, respect, forgiveness, honesty, clear communication and understanding. Where we see these principles operating, we see healthy families; and the lack of them makes a family unhealthy and dysfunctional.

The longer I am in ministry the more I realize how much brokenness there is in this world.  So many families are unhealthy and dysfunctional; which I believe grieves God’s heart.  He grieves because the devil has been destroying marriages and families.

Some of you may have grown up in homes there was abuse or conflicts were not well handled. As a child you may have been traumatized and abused by parents, other adults, leaders, teachers including spiritual ministers. You have been carrying those wounds all along.  You carry those hurts and unhealed wounds into your marriage, family, work place, society and even into Church. You may have seen therapists and received a lot of counsel, yet seem to never get over your childhood traumas. In the process you are hurting, you are hurting your loved ones and if you are in the church you are hurting the church as well.

However you don’t have to remain hurt an unhealed. God in his love and mercy has made a way to find healing for your brokenness. He invites us to come to him and then to one another, through repentance and the healing grace of Jesus Christ. Nothing else will fully heal and restore relationships. If you are in need of healing, and want your marriage and family and other relationships to be restored then come forward for prayer as we sing this song.  Amen.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


The Seal of the Holy Spirit (Vs 13-14)

For the past few Sundays we have been on a journey to discover or rather rediscover the incredible blessings God has lavishly bestowed upon His Children. So far we have looked at six incredible blessings and they are 1. The divine election. 2. The divine adoption 3. The divine redemption. 4. His abundant grace. 5. The mystery of His will. 6. The divine inheritance. Today we will be looking at the seventh blessing, “The seal of the Holy Spirit.”
Let’s read Ephesians 1:13-14 (Read) “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession to the praise of his glory”
Paul while writing to Ephesians stresses that the believers were marked by God with his Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is referred to as the “seal,” on the hearts of Christians. What does this mean? The sealing here refers to an official mark of identification placed on a letter, contract, or other document. The document was thereby officially under the authority of the person whose stamp was on the seal. In this case it is God. The Holy Spirit is God’s seal on His people, His claim on us as His very own.

The imagery of sealing reflects the Oriental custom of marking upon the skin of a devotee the symbol of his god as a token of entire consecration. In Jewish culture circumcision was seen as the seal of consecration to the one living and true God. From this Jewish usage the term passed over into Christianity, where it was applied to baptism. For the writer here the seal is not indeed a visible mark, but the invisible presence of the Holy Spirit. When does this sealing take place? When a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in his life.

From that moment a believer’s life is different because the Spirit of God is now in him. What does the Holy Spirit do in the life of a believer? He is there to teach us, guide us, counsel us, and empower us for ministry. The Holy Spirit is our helper and advocate. He protects and encourages us. And also according to Romans 8:16, “the Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” The Holy Spirit is given to believers as a “first installment” to assure us that our inheritance as children of God will one day be fully delivered. What is the significance of the seal of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer?

The seal of God’s spirit signifies four primary things namely: Security, Authenticity, Ownership and Authority. 1. Security. Daniel 6:16-17. We are familiar with the story of Daniel in the Lions den. For the sake of worshipping the living God and refusing to pray to a human king, Daniel was thrown in the lions den. Listen to what the king said to Daniel, “May your God whom you serve continually, rescue you.” A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.”

That was the power of the seal of a human king. All of Daniel’s enemies might have thought that nothing can save Daniel and he will surely die. But they were wrong.
They failed to recognize that Daniel was under some one else’s care and protection. He had the seal of the Holy Spirit; therefore God sent his angel and shut the mouths of the lions. What can we learn from this story? No matter who your enemies are, no matter what wicked plans the roaring lion, the devil has against you, like Daniel you can be secured. God could send an angel to fight on your behalf. God knows how to silence your critics because you have the seal of the Holy Spirit.

Living in a highly digitally connected world these days one can have access to several monitoring and security systems for protection. As I walk around in our neighborhood I see several houses having the sign ADT in their front yard. ADT is a 24 hour monitoring alarm system. The company boast about themselves saying, “We are always there” really?

Similarly the Holy Spirit is our spiritual ADT and He is 100% reliable. He protects us 24/7, seven days a week and 52 weeks a year. Not only does he protect us physically but also safeguards our hearts from evil spirits. He keeps the real thief, Satan who comes to rob our joy, health and destroy our lives at a distance. Though the seal of the Holy Spirit is invisible to the human eye butt is fully visible to the enemy and his evil forces. And they dare not touch us. Those who have the seal of the Holy Spirit are not only fully secured but they are also authentic.


In a world where there are so many counterfeit products and life styles it is hard to find authenticity. In order to detect the counterfeit and maintain authenticity the corporate and business world relies on holograms. A hologram is a special kind of picture that has been produced by laser and that looks three dimensional. Industries use the holographic products to enhance the image of their brands in the market as genuine and authenticated brands. They are used for product packaging, security applications (they are almost impossible to counterfeit).

Similarly the seal of the Holy Spirit is like a hologram in a believer’s life. The devil knows who is a counterfeit believer and who is an authentic believer in Christ. In Acts 19 we read about, some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits trying to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.

One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you? Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and over powered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.” This is a clear example of what happens to those who think they have God’s Spirit in them when in reality they may not even been born again. We can not have what has not been given to us. We can not copy someone else’s ministry; and if we try to do we may be embarrassed like the sons of Sceve.  

Unfortunately there are many false prophets moving around in the body of Christ. They often over emphasize one aspect of the Christian life.  They hammer you over the head with this one particular thing.  It may be healing, deliverance, discipleship, the second coming of Christ, accountability etc. No doubt these things are part of the whole counsel of God and are not meant to use to cause divisions, dissensions in the Body of Christ.
What does the scripture say about false prophets? “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” ( I John 4:1-2)
We are to use discernment and test the spirits. As a tree is known by its fruit, in the same manner we recognize who is a false prophet by look for fruit in their lives. What is the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Gal 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” We want to be authentic, original in all that we do. The seal of the Holy Spirit not only signifies security, authenticity but also ownership.

3. OWNERSHIP:                                               
Those who are in sports understand what ownership is all about. When they sign a contract to play for a certain team they know that they are no longer free agents. They know who their owner is and which team they belong to. They have to play by the rules of that team.

For example two of my favorite Celtics basket ball players Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnet have been traded to Brooklyn Nets. Now they are no longer Celtics but Nets. The moment they put on “Nets Jersey” they have to remember that they have a new owner and they can not play by the old Celtic rules any more. If they want to succeed in their career they have to quickly learn, adapt and play according to the rules of the Nets. 

That is how it works with us too. In our former life we had a terrible mean spirited owner, the devil himself. We played by his rules and danced to his tunes. But the moment we accepted Christ’s offer of forgiveness God becomes our new owner. We are marked by His Holy Spirit and now we belong to Him. A few scriptures to explain this fact:  Romans 8:9, “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.” I Cor 6:19, “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.”
These two scriptures send us a reminder as well as a warning. A reminder that we are not our own, we now have a new owner and a whole new way of life. A warning is that the Holy Spirit dwells in our bodies therefore we are to honor God with our bodies which means, to stay away from everything that dishonors God. The seal of the Holy Spirit signifies security, authenticity, ownership finally also authority.

Why do we stop our car when we are stopped by a police officer? We do so out of respect for authority. Right? Where did they get that authority?  The department invested in them and it is exhibited by the uniform with the seal of the police department on it, without which they are like any other ordinary citizens.

Similarly, when we become Christians, God invests his authority in us and that is sealed by the Holy Spirit.  When we are sealed with the Holy Spirit we are given authority to proclaim, teach, minister, defend God’s Word, to drive out evil spirits and heal the sick. Christ Himself has said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

Every time when we set out to preach or minister we must remember we are not standing on our own but on the authority of Christ. When we go out realizing that God has indeed invested His authority in us and the Holy Spirit has sealed it for us than we have nothing to be afraid of because Jesus is going to be with us always even to the very end of the age.

In closing let me remind you of what incredible blessings God has freely and richly given to all those who believed in his Son Jesus Christ: In Christ: We have been chosen by God. We have been redeemed. We have been adopted as sons into God’s family. We received God’s abundant grace. God revealed the mystery of his will. We have a divine inheritance and finally our salvation has been sealed by the Holy Spirit for eternity.

After having received such incredible blessings I wonder how can anyone walk around like a spiritual orphan saying to himself and to others that God has not been fair to me? Next time when you think if there is anything you are to be grateful to God for, remember these Seven Incredible Blessings. Some of you sitting here may have never experienced these blessings; you to can receive them today all you have to do is to call on the name of Jesus, repent of your sins and invite Jesus to come into your heart and make you His child. Amen