Seed, bread, harvest

coffee-316578_6402Corinthians 9:10: He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

Here God is being shown to be the provider. He is the one who provides seeds for those who wants to sow, and after sowing, he makes the harvest possible. Paul wrote that he sows and Apollos waters but God gives the increase (1Corinthians 3:16). The main thing is the increase that God brings.

God is a supplier. James says that if anyone lacks wisdom, he should come to God who gives lavishly (James 1:5). The bible says God gives us everything richly to enjoy (1Timothy 6:17). He gives laughter and he even laughs. The bible while talking about the rebellion of the kings of the earth against Jesus, said the one who sits in heaven will laugh (Psalm 2), mocking the foolishness of the kings of the earth who presume they can resist God.

Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit while praising God for what he revealed to Peter and his cohorts and using them mightily, while hiding himself from the intellectuals (Luke 10:17-24). God is generous in grace, reaching down to the underdogs, and taking them to the highest place of prominence (1Samuel 2:8).

The principle of seed, is the principle of life coming out of death, plenty coming out of loss, resurrection coming after burial. Except a seed falls to ground and dies, there is no multiplication. In the parable of the sower, the sower carried seed precious to him. But with an eye on the harvest, he made the necessary sacrifice and effort to allow the seed to leave his hand for him to experience harvest in his life.

God does not just has seed he also has bread. Jesus took the seed of the few loaves of bread and fishes from a boy, and he multiplied it (John 6:1-12). That was seed and harvest in operation, albeit in a supernatural sense.

When Elisha asked a widow to borrow many vessels and pour the little oil she has into them, that was seed and harvest in operation when the little oil filled many vessels (2Kings 4:2-7). It does not matter how little you have, once the life of God is in operation through it, there is no limit to our experiencing a great harvest. Isaac sowed and had an 100-fold increase because he acted in obedience to God’s word (Genesis 26:1-6, 12), just as that widow acted in obedience to the word of Elisha. And Jesus is the word of God (John 1:1-6), hence why he was able to multiply a boy’s meal to feed thousands. The life is in the word of God, and acting on it beings about supernatural multiplication in harvest.

God sent Elijah to another widow who said she was only preparing the last meal so that afterwards she and her only son will wait for death to come by starvation (1Kings 17:1-16). At that time, famine was ravaging the land because of drought, which had just caused the brook of Cherith which Elijah had depended on to dry up.

So here was this woman who was planning to die, but God having her given a seed in the form of giving a meal which she made for Elijah, got an harvest of supernatural provision for the duration of the famine. Acting on God’s word, which is seed, she experienced supernatural multiplication as her obedience activated the life in the word for that harvest.

Moses also had his seed and harvest moment with God. He encountered God in the wilderness in a tree which was not consumed by the fire burning it (Exodus 4:1-3, 20). God asked him to throw his staff on the ground and it turned into snake, and he was asked to pick it up again, and it was then called the rod of God which was used to do miracles.

He threw down the staff as a seed, but when he picked it up, it became a tool for the supernatural. When you throw down your time and energy at the feet of God, you pick it back up again, and supernatural things happen.

God gives bread, and not just seed. In the Garden of Eden and in the wilderness, Adam and Eve and the children of Israel respectively were given fruits (Genesis 2:6-16) and manna (Exodus 16:35). They did not have to work for it, it was gift.

It is with the same receiving attitude that Jesus said we should pray to God: give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). We are his children, the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 79:13) and as David wrote, the lord is our shepherd. And the sheep totally depend on the shepherd for sustenance in everything (Psalm 23). It expresses absolute trust in him, follow his lead to have its needs met.

David said that since he was young and now old he has never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread (Psalm 27:35). That means we should expect divine supply.

Jesus admonished that we should not worry about what we will eat (Matthew 6:25-30), because the sparrows neither labour nor gather into barns but our heavenly father provide for them, how much more us his children.

When Adam and Eve were made, they had a reservoir of resources all around. Though Adam was meant to tend and keep the Garden of Eden, it was not something hard. The fruits of the garden were meant for his enjoyment.

Similarly, Paul wrote that God is able to make all grace abound towards us, so that in all things and at times, having sufficiency in all things we may abound to every good work (2Corinthians 9:8), and we would be able to minister to others in their needs, having had our own needs met. We are supposed to have sufficiently tapped into the provision of God that we overflow in that into the lives of other people.

We are empowered, knowing that God is the one who sustains us. Paul prayed for the Philippian church that his God will supply all their needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

This is because whatever we enjoy from God as bread is the harvest of the seed Jesus sowed of his life. That was why he was bold to declare that I am the bread which came down from heaven (John 6:41-58). When we eat him, he becomes the seed of life in us, the seed of change, and we experience water in us springing up into eternal life (John 4:14).

When we take him in he becomes seed in us, saving seed. That is why Peter said that we are not saved expect by the incorruptible seed of the word of God which abides forever (1Peter 1:23).

And when the seed of life is in us we get to have an harvest of it in our lives and as we release the seed-word into people’s lives they encounter Christ through us, as the bread of life and the seed is also established in them in a continuous chain bread-seed-harvest.

Malice and evil; sincerity and truth

leopard-226136_6401Corinthians 5:8: Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Malice and evil

To be malicious means to have hidden agenda, a mind to act against another person for whatever reason, while evil is the expression of that malice. Paul wrote that we should be babes in malice but in understanding we should men (1Corinthians 14:20, Ephesians 4:31).  That means we should be inept when it comes to holding grudges, to walking in malice. It is the same thing when Jesus said that he was sending us to the world as sheep among wolves, but we should be as innocent as doves but as wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16).

As doves we soar above all the fleshly things, encumbrances, and traps. And as serpent we are able to navigate amidst the landmines of human peculiarities, sly in our approach.

The bread for the Passover is specially made without leaven. And Jesus warned the disciples that they should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy (Luke 12:1). Hypocrisy is about being double-faced, it is putting up an act, and it is about deception, which is a prime character of the devil.

The devil disguises as an angel of light (2Corinthians 11:14) and when the devil as a serpent showed up in the Garden of Eden it he was not scary (Genesis 3). The serpent probably had a glossy look which hides a poisonous tongue. He looked good afar off, but if you give him a chance to come near, deceptively, he strikes.

For the Pharisees, Jesus said that they are like white-washed sepulchres, who are holy on the outside but full of rottenness on the outside (Matthew 23:27). They hide corruption on the inside while telling others of the need to be holy.

Jesus came so that we do not have to live a double life, so that we can be clean in our hearts and in our lifestyle. We cannot change ourselves, so he has come to change us, to reject him is reject to possibility of real change. No other person can reach into our heart and rid it of the principle of sin and death, the evil, the poison lurking there.

Cain the first child of the first family is the epitome of malice and evil (Genesis 4:1-16). He and his brother offered sacrifices to God, but rather than change when his own sacrifice was not accepted, rather than repent, he decided that Abel was a competition for the affection of God and he decided to decide to get rid of him, kill him.

He did it full of malice and evil. The bible says that where there is envy, there is confusion and every evil work (James 3:16). So malice gives the platform for the perpetration of evil. That is why Paul enjoined us to be uninformed, ignorant when it comes to malice, because there is no way the love of God will flow from us when we harbour malice against another person, when we harbour un-forgiveness.

All these found their first house in Cain, and in this day and age the spirit of Cain is implicated when we see these traits manifest. That means that if we allow ourselves to dwell on unforgiveness, we have opened the door for the spirit of Cain, the first one who was host to these satanic traits, in opposition to the personality of God.

What did Cain get for allowing himself to be filled with hatred which eventually led him to commit murder? He lost the presence of God, and became a vagabond on the earth. That means he lost his rest, becoming perpetually agitated.

Sincerity and truth

Opposed to malice and evil, we have sincerity and truth. Again and again we hear Jesus say: truly truly I say to you. He is the truth. In Jesus, God became open to man again. Jesus said that if we have seen him we have seen the father.

Sincerity have to go with openness, while truth has to do with knowledge. The two go together. You cannot receive the truth of God without sharing his oneness, his heart of sincerity.

Jesus said of Nathanael, this is an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile and he was marked for a greater revelation from God. Jesus said that he will see the heaven opened and he will be privileged to see Jesus in his glory (John 1:45-53).

To the limit that you are committed to truth, saying it, living it, you qualify for divine revelation. David said: God desires truth in the inward part (Psalm 51:6). Then he said in the inward part he will make us to know wisdom. Without any commitment to truth we would not have the door of wisdom opened to us.

Sincerity has to do with purity, single-mindedness, being single-eyed, a living in total truth in God, without doubt.

James says that if anyone seeks wisdom, he should come to God, who gives without holding back (James 1:5-8), but we should ask in faith, not doubting because anyone who doubts, who does not come with a sincerity of trust full trust in God will not receive anything from God.

The Pharisees were shut off from the truth of Jesus because they threw sincerity out of the window. They were hypocrites (Matthew 23:14), they could not care for the truth, only for maintaining only holding to their position, their place of prestige in the eyes of the people, and not in the eyes of God.

There was some bright spots among them like Nicodemus, who through could not risk openly identifying with Jesus, still a sincere hunger for truth. From his sincere seeking of Jesus acknowledging that God had really sent Jesus, as a teacher, he got an instruction that we have been feeding on since: except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:1-8). A man of hunger for truth and sincerity, always draws revelation, truth from Jesus, who does not want to cast his pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6). You must really express value for it to get it, in sincerity.

The reason many people will not be able to receive the truth of God is because they already think they know what can be known, maybe unconsciously. To receive you have to open your hands, be emptied of your thoughts.

When you add leaven to the flour it complicates it. The bible says blessed are the pure in heart because they shall see God. To be pure in heart is to be sincere, to have God as your only source, your only passion. It is in that state that you can see God. You can only see God when you are rid of ulterior motives. The bible says some people ask and do not receive because they ask to spend it on their lusts. They do not receive because of impure motives.

Walking in the light

lanterns-111003_640John 8:12: Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, I am the Light of the world. The one following Me will in no way walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.

To recognise Jesus as light is our get out-of-jail-free card from darkness. The bible says that the world lies in the power of evil (1John 5:9), meaning it is under the power of darkness. But among the bound, you can be free, as Jesus gives you freedom (John 8:36).

When God introduced himself in the bible, it is as the giver of light (Genesis 1:1-3). The first words we heard from him was: Let there be light.

So if there is one thing that God revealed that he is associated with, it is to light, therefore the enemy has been associated with darkness.

God dwells in light unapproachable (1Timothy 6:16), and in the world to come, there will be no need for the light of the sun because the Lord himself will be light (Revelation 22:5).

Light vanquishes darkness. What should that do to your self-concept, to your confidence in Christ, as you view the enemy? It impresses it on you that the enemy is nothing, just as darkness is nothing before light. There is no other conclusion you can come to. Jesus said: I saw Satan fall like lightning (Luke 10:18). Jesus definitely did not paint the picture of an all powerful devil to the disciples, but one who was nothing. If Satan falls like lightning and you have been raised up to seat with Jesus, then you gain an elevated view of yourself.

When David confronted Goliath. What did he come with? Yes, he came with some stones, but what he came with really is the light to vanquish the darkness that Goliath stood for (1Samuel 17). At the end of the encounter, you found out that there was actually no encounter. There was no contest, there was no battle.

In the end of time, the bible says that the enemy, Satan will come and deceive the nation and they will mount a battle against the Lord, and he will anguish them in a moment (Revelation 20:7-10). There will be no context. They will only be overwhelmed.

Did you notice that Goliath had a big mouth? He was raging against Israel for 40 days and no one could have imagined that he will fall down so easily, after his show of self-confidence, after many days of acting like God.  But it took a teenager to shut him up permanently.

Goliath is the symbol of your fear. When all is said as done, your fears, that thing that looms large in your heart, is no more than darkness before the light, no more than Goliath before David, but you need to realise that you are David, that you are light (Matthew 5:14).

The bible says that the enemy roars like a lion looking for whom to devour, but we are to resist him steadfast in our faith (1Peter 5:8-9). When we approach Goliath we should do that as light, with an assured faith.

If we have not learnt to live in faith, then when faced with fearful things, we would only act as the army of Israel before Goliath. None of then turned on their faith gas to release fire to burn out the enemy, they were emptied of it.

But David had practiced turning his faith on. Slaughtering the bear and the lion in the hidden places, he came overdosed on faith and cannot tolerate the devil in Goliath, when he heard him taunting Israel.

Goliath was not directly threatening to David, and he was not being asked to do anything about the Goliath-threat. But when light shows up, it does not need permission to vanquish darkness, but does so by his mere presence.

Realise that you have been given power to overcome all the powers of the enemy (Luke 10:19). You do not just bear light, you are light. Our very presence and manifestation is as light, as deliverers. The bible says that deliverers will come forth from Zion and you are one of them (Obadiah 1:21).

But walking in the light is beyond just being a deliverer, it is also about walking in the deliverance that you have got through Jesus. It is walking, living in the light of the word of God. If the word says it then you can step into it, you walk in the reality of the presence of Jesus. You are not afraid of the enemy, you are actively expressing Christ in your life, walking in his holiness.

Walking in the light is also about following divine direction. The psalmist says to God: your word is lamp to my feet and light to my path (Psalm 119:105). A man living with full complement of divine guidance in every area of his life is walking in the light.

It is not just enough to obey the moral outlines of the written word of God, you need to also live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. That is the way to success, amazing success. You have to have incline your ears, so that you can hear him say to you: this is the way walk in it (Isaiah 2:5), the way of prosperity (Psalm 35:27).

God told Joshua: this book of the law shall not depart from your mouth but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you can make your way prosperous and have good success (Joshua 1:8).

From the foundation of moral light (2Timothy 2:19), there should the construction of all other aspects of your life with the light of the word of God, following his direction, following where the Holy Spirit leads (Romans 8:14), and making course correction as at when do.

Walking in the light is following Jesus.  That is what discipleship is all about, a life under the transforming influence of the word of Christ as we move from glory to glory (2Corinthians 3:14-18).

We not only receive help from Christ but we become the help for others; we receive guidance and we give the same; we receive comfort and we give the same.

Paul said that the God of all comfort has comforted him in all things and with the comfort he had received, he comfort others (2Corinthians 1:3-7). With the light we have received we helped others to see the way, make the right choices, be the right persons, so the light spreads, and with your fire you light other people’s fire.

While light has to do with the faith, hope and love (1Corinthians 13:13), darkness has to do with fear, worry and corruption. And we are called to walk away from darkness and into light, experiencing it and leading others in the same direction.

Worry is counterfeit hope, fear is counterfeit faith while corruption is counterfeit love, generated not from the love of the father but from the love of the world. Fear is “faith” in what the devil can do, but when we have faith in God, we can please him, walk with him, walking in the light. Worry is counterfeit hope, but putting your hope in God, letting his words colour your expectation is all that matters.

Reward in heaven

stairs-338428_640Luke 6:23: Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

Reward in this context is not about what you have achieved for the kingdom of God, but what you have suffered for it. The one who is imprisoned for the cause of Christ may think: oh how I am wasting away! Not that the number of years you have spent in the prison was a waste, they are being added up in the calculation of your heavenly reward.

The bible said that God is not unrighteous to forget your labour of love (Hebrews 6:10). And Jesus said whatever you loose for the cause of Christ will define your reward, it will be restored to you in multiple fold. Whatever “loss” you suffer for the cause of Christ is a set up for a great reward (Matthew 19:28-29).

People want to get their reward on the earth, they have an “here now” mind-set, as they seek to build something earthly for themselves, concerned about earthly achievement and legacies and wealth, but it is the reward in heaven is greater.

People want to hail by men, but it is the commendation from God that matters most, it is hearing the words: well-done good and faithful servant at the end of time (Luke 19:17).

The earthly life is but a blowing of a wind in a millisecond, compared to eternity, and that is an understatement. Living for eternity is the wisest way to live. Investment on the earth with an eye on eternity, with a concern for the things of God, is the best.

Peter, Paul and Jesus mentioned various rewards in heaven, they talked about crowns, called various names (1Corinthians 9:23-27, Philippians 4:1, 1Thessalonians 2:19, 2Timothy 4:8, James 1:12, 1Peter 5:4, Revelation 2:10, 3:11).

The crown is a sign of special dominion in heaven or in the world to come and will be used to define hierarchy there.

You may think it is nothing, but wait until that day when the crowned ones will be exhibited or allocated there space of dominion.

So the persecution you have gone through for the sake of Christ is part of the divine set to reward you.

Jesus suffered in obedience to God and he has been rewarded for it, rewarded with great authority. After his death and resurrection, he said: all authority in heaven and earth have been given to me (Matthew 28:18-20). The pain he experienced in obedience to God was translated to reward in sphere of authority for him in his resurrected life. The same thing will happen to us, being members of his body.

He humbled himself to the death of the cross and now he has been highly exalted and now at the name of Jesus every knee will bow (Philippians 2:5-11).

The reward for Jesus for his suffering on the cross was elevation above all. That is our fate, but in a lesser measure, for whatever sacrifice we made for the course of Jesus, whatever loss we suffer, will turn to abundance for us.

Nothing goes for nothing, nothing is forgotten; even your tears are in God’s bottle (Psalm 56:8). God does not forget your sacrifice for the cause of Christ but he forgets your sin, washed away in the sea of forgetfulness because of the blood of Jesus. Our sins has been paid for, it is not disregarded. Nothing is disregarded, being a necessity of divine justice.

Jesus was “rewarded” for our sins, punished for them, and we are now rewarded for his work of righteousness in us.

We are now positioned to start sowing seed of sacrifice for the name of Jesus the one who gave his life for us. We have the opportunity to lay down our lives for him, carrying our cross daily (Luke 9:23).  We are set up to experience no more pain or tears in heaven (Revelation 7:17) but the endless rewards of having served Jesus.

When persecuted for the course of Christ we bear his marks, either physically or emotionally. Paul said: let no one trouble me because I bear on my body the marks of Christ (Galatians 6:17). Persecution will leave a scar (internally or physically) on us but not to worry.

It is like marks borne by a soldier on the battleground fighting for his nation. That marks them for special honour, special medals from their home country. And being a recipient of a medal of honour for being valiant in battle, even posthumously, is a source of prestige.

If an earthly country can pay such recognition to its soldiers (and once they get that medal it marks their lives) how much more the kingdom of God, where there is limitless resources?

Paul said earthly athletes contend for limited prizes how much more would we get running the race of our earthly mandate as given by God? How much more will the reward heaven, the eternal reward be amazing, deserving of our ardent commitment?

People have been trained to look for an earthly reward for their efforts for the kingdom, but that is so sad, that is perpetuating earthly mindedness. Paul said that we should set our minds not on earth but on heaven where Christ is (Colossians 3:1-2). We should live in anticipation of eternity. It was said about Abraham: he looked for a city whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10).

For the churches Jesus directed letters to in the book of Revelation, the reward for being faithful is almost always eternal (Revelation 2-3). Jesus did not say: if you are faithful I will give you a mansion. He said: I will give you a new name, I will give you the hidden manna, and I will give you a new stone, do not let another take your crown.  We need to start emphasising the importance of heaven.

The limitation of the past teaching about heaven has been the fact that it is directed at the unbelievers. It goes something like this: “escape hell and go to heaven through Jesus,” which is true.

But once the people have been scared off hell and brought to heaven, the theme of heaven is not developed further, it is no longer emphasised.

The message of heaven is the greatest bible motivation there is, that is what we glean from the words of Jesus writing to the seven churches of Asia. Jesus said in essence: those who overcome, those who shape up in response to my rebuke, will have heavenly reward.

Note he did not say: shape up or go to hell, which is the negative motivation that preachers want to use on believers. He said shape up, and have a big treat in heaven. He did not say: shape up or you will not get there.

The message directed at the people about going to heaven is about getting there, no more issue is raised about how your life here determines your life there, the reward, and how aiming for the reward in heaven is the best way to live without regret, since life on earth by definition is short compared to heavenly eternity.

What should be emphasised is how all earthly good is not comparable to the massive reward of heaven, does not hold a candle against it. Jesus said: rejoice because your name is written in heaven (Luke 10:20). That means it is a big deal, and we should live the rest of our lives in thanks to Jesus making it possible for us to go to heaven (Hebrews 13:12-15), and live for the reward there.

Jesus wants you to know that at the end, it will all be worth it, the sacrifice you made because of his name.  He does not want you deceived that it will all be rosy here on earth because you became his follower. But because you have identified with him in a special way, as you endure persecution, he will also specially identify with you in heaven (Luke 9:26).

Peter even said that the persecuted will experience even on this earth a special manifestation of the glory of God (1Peter 4:14).

Jesus was persecuted. The bible says that he endured the grievous contradiction of sinner against himself, to the point that his blood was shed. But his eyes were was set on the joy afterwards. That was why he was able to endure the cross. There was a glory set before him, he has full grasp of the reward after.

The word of God concerning the special reward the persecuted gets is meant to help us live above the present difficulty and live in the very life of God.

Persecution is humbling. Though Jesus had to humble himself to come in human flesh, he was further humbled in the death on the cross, being made a curse for us who was a blessing (Galatians 3:13); being made to carry our sins though righteous (2Corinthians 5:21), becoming classified as the scum of the earth by the death form he went through.

Since persecution is humbling, humiliating, and the bible says that the humble have more grace (James 4:6-7), so congratulate yourself if you are persecuted because you just qualified for great grace (Acts 4:33).

Make me

potters-wheel-58557_640Luke 15:19: I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’

You can be born a son, but you have to be made a servant. You are born again becoming a child of God in an instant but you need to be trained to be a servant.

In your spirit you are born again, but in your soul which is descriptive of your ongoing development as a human being, Paul says it needs to be renewed, it needs to go through changes, it needs to be remade (Romans 12:1-2). We need help to become better, over time, but we became born again in a moment.

Even Paul said that he still strived to be more for God than before (Romans 15:20). In spiritual service there is always something to stretch to.

Paul said at the end of his life that he has finished his course, he had served God fully (2Timothy 4:7). He was not serving God to seek approval (we have been approved in Jesus, with his righteousness) but to seek his agenda, to seek to do his will, being one with him.

He said woe is me if I preach not the gospel, adding that he was not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). He commonly refers to himself as the servant of Jesus, i.e. a bond slave (Philippians 1:1). A slave which does not have a choice by choice.

In the overarching emphasis on grace in the church there seems to be no place for being a bond slave. The speakers seek to paint all other perspectives of truth as the wrong one and that theirs is the only right one.

The message of grace is good, but to be a servanthood you need some grit, and we need a grace that gives grit. We know it is God who works in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure but we still need to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13).

Paul said that he had been given the abundant of grace through Jesus, but he added that he laboured more than others (1Corinthians 15:10), but was quick to say that it was not him but the grace of God which was with him.

Whatever you think, there is some work involved in grace. What you take all the work out of grace, then it is empty, and servanthood is about work, putting your body under to deliver on divine objectives (1Corinthians 9:27). The grace preachers act as if your will is important, only the right confession, but the right confession without the right action (steps) is dead, just as the faith without works is dead.

What then will be the basis of reward in heaven, if not what we have done in the flesh? We do not get rewarded for being born again, we are born again based on the blood of Jesus, but we get rewarded for being good and faithful servants (Matthew 25:21), and that has to do with some work. Paul said that he puts his body under so that after he has done the will of God he will not be a castaway, and no one preached grace more than him.

You are still responsible for the decision you make, hence the need to yield to the Holy Spirit. It is written: as many as are led by the Holy Spirit they are the Son of God (Romans 8:14). The more you are led or that you yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit, the more you are manifesting as son of God.

There are three levels of divine sonship that we can exhibit as depicted in the story of Jesus. Jesus was born Son of God.

When the Angel Gabriel came to Mary saying to him that the child she will bear will be called the son of the highest (Luke 1:32). Even at the age of twelve (to avoid any confusion after for those who will want to claim that it was when the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus at the time he was baptised in water by John that he became the son of God) he told his parents that I must go about my father’s business, meaning God (Luke 2:49).

That level of sonship is sonship as identity. It is the level of sonship in which you still needed to explain to people that you are a son just as Jesus explained to his parents that he was a son of God.

But later Jesus will say to the people that the very works of miracles he performed testify about who he is. He does not need too long explanation. When John the Baptist sent people to him, asking: are you the one or shall we look for another? He said, the miracles I do, says it all.

This second level of sonship is the servant sonship, which for example was exhibited when he was at the pool of Bethesda and healed only one man (John 5:1-12). He was acting on instruction, he said: what I do is what my father wants me to do (John 8:28, 12:49-50, 6:38). This is servanthood at his peak the sonship of obedience, sonship being about allowing yourself to be led, guided by the Holy Spirit and doing supernatural works.

The third level is manifested/declared sonship. The bible says that Jesus was declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead.

The first level of sonship is “who we are,” the second level: “what we do as servants of God,” while the third is what we are made into with a resurrected body in the order of the resurrected Christ at his second coming.

John wrote that we do not yet know what we would be like, but when Jesus appears in his second coming, we will become as he is (1John 3:1-2).

The first level of sonship corresponds to receiving Jesus, while the second has to do with receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit in power, just as it was with Jesus. We await our third level of sonship.

In the focus verse the young rebellious son was asking to be made a servant. Gone was his obnoxiousness, pride, his demands of his rights, he desire for freedom, now he wants to be under the roof of the father, under his influence, he wants to be under control.

He has tasted the fruit of his self-will, in sharing the meal of pigs and now he wants the will of the father (Luke 15:11-32). He knows that what he missed about the father was the love, provision, unconditional acceptance and favourable attention, contrary to his experience in the foreign land where the attention he got was because of his money.

Jesus walked on the earth as a servant of God as it was prophesied about him (Isaiah 53:11). He was bound to the will of the father. He said: I must do the work of him who sends me while it is day, the night comes when no man can work (John 9:1-5).

The servant has a work mentality, and a key part of the work is waiting upon the Lord. If he is the Lord then we are the servants. We do his bidding. But the true servant do not come up with their own assignments, they wait on the Lord and move as he bids them.

The children of Israel were in error for not doing the desire of God. When God wanted them to move to the Promised Land, they decided that was not a good idea and God said that they will die as wanderers there. But they changed their minds regretting their act of complaint and set out for the land, but they were slaughtered before the enemy and ran back (Numbers 14:26-45).

So it is not about if something is a good idea, but is it a God idea? It is not if it is a fantastic idea, is it a divine idea? It is not about what God has said, but what is He saying?

Jesus said that man shall not live by food alone by every word that proceeds for the mouth of God (Luke 4:1-4). What is the word proceeding from the mouth of God for you sustenance, your fulfilment, success, satisfaction this year, this month, this week, and today? We live based on the word of God, and we serve based on that.

Resurrection and life

jesus-301638_640John 11:25: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,

In Jesus, death is not really death, it has lost its sting (1Corinthians 15:51-57). Note how Peter and Paul described death (2Peter 2:13-14, Philippians 1:20-25). Peter said it is just removal of this tent to put on another one, in reference to the body. Death obviously for him was not the end.

Paul wrote to the Philippians that he was in between two opinions, either to depart and be with the Lord (because to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord) which he personally prefers, or to remain to be further blessings to them, strengthening their faith which is to their advantage. He chose the latter.

There were obviously not afraid of death. They lived their lives based on the reality of the heaven. Knowing that beyond the veil of this flesh there is the heavenly place prepared for them. Jesus said that he has gone to prepare a place or them that where he is they will be also (John 14:1-4).

Jesus makes it possible for us to have eternal life. He stands between heaven and the earth, connecting people back to God.

Resurrection is a statement of victory over death. Resurrection is life overpowering death. It is packed in the name of Jesus. Jesus said that the day will come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of Man (himself) and when they hear they will live (John 5:25).

That was displayed before the grave of Lazarus (John 11). Jesus did not run for cover when confronted with death, even the four-day death of Lazarus. Lesser men, or the numerous rabbi in the land of Israel could find the right words to console the bereaved but they could not reverse death.

They could mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15) but cannot do much more. They could not wipe tears away from the faces of those who suffer the death of loved ones by reversing death, as Jesus did for Mary and Martha in the event of the death of Lazarus their brother. Jesus had told Martha: “if you believe, you will see the glory of God,” for the glory of God is the manifestation of his greatness and supremacy in the midst of the limitations/ineptitude/inability of men, which the grave of Lazarus epitomised.

When you think the end has come, then God comes with his resurrection power. Death says there is no other way out, no other option, but with Jesus there is one other option, the dead can come back to life.

So if you think that you are into a corner, totally lost, facing a wall, down and out, at your wits end, that situation is a job for Jesus, the resurrection and life. When a case is closed, as the stone was laid on the tomb of Lazarus, it is an opportunity for the glory of God to manifest.

Jesus, when he met a man who was born blind said it was an opportunity for him to be the light of the world, and he gave the man sight (John 9). His sight was dead, and Jesus manifested life to it. For the man who was lame from his mother’s womb, and healed through the ministry of Peter, his limbs were dead and in the name of Jesus, the resurrection power was released, for a reversal (Acts 3).

When Jesus met a widow on the way to bury her only son, he told her to not be sad, not to weep (Luke 7:11-16), Jesus then manifested as joy to her, raising her about-to-be-buried son from the dead.

The bible says that in the presence of God there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). So with Jesus in the picture, whatever makes sad is converted into a joyful situation, what should be a burial ceremony will become a high celebration of the display of the resurrection power. You are about to have a coming-from-the-dead experience.

He is the manifestation of joy because he is a manifestation of salvation, and the bible says that with joy we will draw from the water of salvation (Isaiah 12:3). The experience of salvation is the experience of joy. And salvation is not just a one-time experience, it is an ongoing experience of Jesus.

When he raised that widow’s son, she must have been awestruck. God indeed is awesome. He can create effect that will astonish men to no end. He does the unexpected.

When a man came to Jesus asking for the healing of his child, he wanted to prevent the worst, the death of the child (Luke 8:41-56). He thought that if he can get to Jesus on time, then the child will not die. But that was not to be. The child died, but he learnt that for Jesus, death is not the end, being is the resurrection and life.

Jesus was declared to be the son of God by the resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4). It is the same way for us, in him we are raised up spiritually; in him we have now come from the dead, and by that made the children of God (John 1:12). Though we spoke, walked and thought, we were born spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:5), but in Christ we come alive, come alive to God.

Paul said in him (God) we live, move and have our being, we are his offspring (Acts 17:28), in the sense that Adam was called the son of God (Luke 3:38), but he lost that status and that identity assumed by Jesus and it is only in him that we can become sons of God now.

The bible says that as many as receive him become children of God (John 1:12). We contact resurrection life by receiving Jesus, as we receive the word as it is preached with power (1Corinthians 1:24, 2:4-5).

But we can also release the resurrection power. Through the words of our mouth we can release the resurrection power, and through the laying on of hands too (Mark 16:15-18).

Resurrection is about power, so when we speak and people’s life change, we have released the resurrection power. Paul said the gospel releases the resurrection power, saying it is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16).

Talking about the process of salvation, he said people will not believe, when they have not heard; and they will not hear, if they have not been told, if no one has preached to them.

He added that the manifestation of Christ to save us is through the preaching of the word. Saying we do not have to go to heaven to bring Christ from the death but the word in our mouth through which Christ can come to people’s heart: “the word of faith that we preach (Romans 10:5-15).”

When people believe then they pass from death to life (John 5:24), because the life is in Jesus, while death is what we inherited from Adam (Romans 5:12-21).

Paul said that he does not want to know anything in the midst of the people, except Christ and him crucified (1Corinthians 2:2). And when you know the truth about him, we are set free from the hold of death, from the lies and the effect of the devil and we come into the true life-hold of Jesus (John 10:10).

Jesus who is revealed in the preaching of the word, manifesting in it as God the word (John 1:1-4) still carried the same anointing that he announced was upon him at the beginning of his ministry while he was on earth (Luke 4:18). One of it was to preach the good news to the poor, which means if you are down in any way through him you will experience elevation. He turns you from being an have-not to having in every area of your life.

Of sickness and forgiveness of sins

fish-378286_640Mark 2:7: “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Sickness

Jesus asked: which one is easier, to say your sins are forgiven or to say rise up and walk (Mark 2:1-12)? What do you think? I think it is to heal the sin. Healing is about expression of God’s power, while for forgiveness of sin, there is the need to deal with God’s holiness standard.

Sin is an affront to the holiness of God, which is at the core of who he is. He has to bend over double to forgive sin. And it is not sin if it is not against God. Sickness is merely a symptom of sin, which is the root. It is easier to cut the branch than to uproot the whole tree.

Sickness is an expression of limited expression of life while death is cessation of life, and therefore sickness is a limited expression of death, a reduction in ultimate functionality affecting the spheres human existence.

That is clear because with the way God ordered things in the beginning, sickness was not part of the equation. His way is nothing less than perfection (Proverbs 18:30). That means sickness is an aberration.

One way to live above sickness is to not accept it. Do not say it is the way it happens to people, do not say that look at Timothy, he had a problem with his stomach (1Timothy 5:23), look at Paul he had another issue.

This is your body not Paul’s not Timothy’s. The bible says that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1Corinthians 3:16), that we have God dwelling in our body, that the same spirit which raised Jesus will quicken our body (Romans 8:11). That quickening experience can be our present continuous experience as a Christians, it is then we can fulfil all we can on this earth.

Sickness in the New Testament is attached to not being able to discern the body of the Lord according to Paul (1Corinthians 11:23-30).  That means once we fully recognise that we are parts of the body of Christ and that he nourishes and cherishes that body (Ephesians 5:23-32), so we should constantly experience rejuvenation in our body.

Know that stress and worry, fear, lack of forgiveness, guilt, are issues of emotion that affect our health. What is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) if not to take us above those corrupting natural human tendencies? What is prayer if not an avenue to share in God’s emotion, confidence, grace and power and his rest and experience rejuvenation in our body? What is prayer if not an opportunity to engage with the Holy Spirit in an intimate way, to experience his purifying fire burning off any germ, illness or growth?

Peter said that times of refreshing will come from the presence of God (Acts 3:19). And Jesus said that men’s heart will fail them for fear from looking at the bad events that will be coming on the earth (Luke 21:26). And what do you think will happen when you set your heart on God? Instead of fear, like Caleb, you will say: I am as strong today at eighty years of age as I was at the age of forty (Joshua 14:6-11).

The presence of God has effect on our spirit, soul and body (1Thessalonians 5:23). For our spirit it is its natural habitat, for the soul, it is the unseen influence, for the body, it gets it quickening shot from there.

Forgiveness of sin

Only God can forgive sin (because sin is primarily against his holiness), so those people speaking in the focus verse were correct about that. So the fact is that the man they were looking at forgave sin meant he was God. Jesus is God.

And when he hung on the cross and said: “father forgive them because they do no know what they doing, as one of his final words,” that became what his blood cries out for us. Remember that the blood of Jesus, which is a living entity, speaks better things than the blood of Abel (Hebrews 12:24).

The blood of Abel, murdered in cold blood in the field by his brother, God said, cried to him from the ground, for vengeance (Genesis 4:1-10). The blood of Jesus, crying better things, cries restoration of the killers. He hung there because of us. So in a sense we killed him (our sins killed him) and he asked forgiveness for us not retribution against us.

Now there is a blanket offer of forgiveness. The bible says that now under the new covenant of the blood of Jesus we have the opportunity to be cleansed from everything that we could not be cleansed in time past (Acts 13:38-39).

It does not matter what it is, the blood of Jesus covered it and speaks restoration. It does not matter what is lost to sin in time, relationship, energy, health, the blood of Jesus speaks restoration.

Because of the blood of Jesus, God looks at us as if he looks at Jesus. Now God is for us, he is with us and not against us. We get to become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2Corinthians 5:21).  We experience a change in spiritual identity because of Jesus. We get to be born again, start a new life as new creatures (2Corinthians 5:17).

We may not be different in physical look but we are different in spiritual look and outlook. We were dead in trespasses and sin but now made alive in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:1-6).

The forgiveness of sin that we have is on the account of Jesus; that is why the whole idea of penance is an insult to the blood of Jesus.  It is either the blood takes care of the issue of sin totally or not at all, because God does not do something in half measure. And he was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not levelling our sin against us.

The blood cleanses us, declare us free from the entanglement of sin and now we can serve God with a clear conscience, purged of dead works through the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 9:14). We do not look to ourselves, otherwise we would feel condemned (Romans 8:1) but we look to the blood of Jesus through which we are justified.

There is no way we would pay for our own sin. If we do not come to Jesus we forever carry the burden.  Jesus said that those who are heavy-laden (for example, in the area of guilt) should come to him and he will give them rest (Matthew 11:28-30) as nothing agitates more than sin, or the guilt of it.

Adam and Eve would have much to say about it. When they sinned they ran from God, they could not freely associate with him anymore (Genesis 3). But now in Jesus we can come to God without sin consciousness. Jesus takes care of it, we just receive the free gift of forgiveness of sin (Romans 5:15-18).