The bible teacher

board-106588_640Isaiah 30:20: And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.

The teacher has an important role in the body of Christ. They serve to deepen the spiritual life of the believers via the avenue of spiritual understanding. A teacher does a lot of explaining, analysis and comparison. It is about line upon line, precept upon precept (Isaiah 28:13). There is an engagement with the reasoning, helping the people to see things from God’s perspective.

In the three components of the soul (mind, emotion, will) the teacher works with the mind and therefore the one primarily charged with the transformative growth of the new believers. Paul said we should be transformed by the renewal of our mind (Romans 12:2). The teacher puts the right information in the mind.

New believers are not to be left alone to fend for themselves. They are mean to be taught. They needed to unlearn the wrong things and learn the principles of the kingdom.

In the book of Acts the bible recorded that the new believers continue in the apostles’ teachings, as they went from house to house (Acts 2:46, 48).

The spiritual life is new to them, hence the need for thorough teaching. They are encouraged to desire the sincere milk of the word that they may grow thereby (1Peter 2:2). Jesus said the new believers should be taught his ways and words (Matthew 28:18-20).

Paul told the Ephesians church: you have not so learnt Christ, if you have taught by him, you will have stopped some wrong behaviours, as the truth is in Christ. The teacher needs to fortify the people with truth (Ephesians 4:15-32).

A quintessential teacher in the Old Testament is Ezra who was firstly committed to knowing and doing the scriptures and then teaching others (Ezra 7:10).

He goes to great length to help people know the book of the law. He is aware that is the basis of pleasing God, and he worked hard at instructing the people in that line, using the five books of Moses as a textbook.

When David chose to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, he had the best of intention, and had the best passion you can imagine, and the right reverence for God, but he missed it in accuracy of obedience. David was ignorant of the laid down procedure. And the journey was an unmitigated failure (2Samuel 6:1-18, 1Chronicles 15:11-15).

In that arrangement, everything was right, except the truth concerning what God had said about such things. Because he did not have the right understanding, he was limited in what he can do, in the advancement he can make and even in relationship with God.

God has put the hunger for truth in his people and a teacher meets that need in the body of Christ. To highlight the important role of the teacher Paul said that he an apostle and teacher of gentile in truth (1Timothy 2:7).

One man who stood in the place of an teacher in the new testament was Apollos, he gave strong defences of the truth of God, but he needed Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:24-28) to improve his understanding, on the ways of God as regards the person of Jesus, and he went on to be a giant in the church, as an explainer of truth helping to establish the faith of many. Jesus said that some people are in error because they do not know the scriptures (Matthew 22:29), the teacher serves to help us know the scriptures. And like Apollos, you cannot be a true teacher without being teachable and humble. However, he should not feel inferior to the other leaders in the church.

The teacher should not feel inferior to the evangelist

The evangelist is primarily a preacher and he proclaims truth, towards winning souls. Because of the way the evangelist brings souls to the kingdom, the teacher may start feeling that he is a second rated member of the fivefold ministers, because he focuses on explaining the bible to the believers, those already saved.

The teacher should understand that his activities also leads to soul winning. With the right teaching, the life of God manifests fully in the people of God, and as the light shines brighter it will attract people to God’s kingdom which has been established in our lives (Isaiah 60:1-3). Others will be saved, as the people are truth-empowered to represent Christ fully.

The teacher should not feel inferior to the prophet

While the prophet brings words for the “now,” able to peer into the mind of God and declare the same, the teacher, on behalf of God, works on the mind of the people, so that they can better receive the things of God. The teacher helps to identify the way of God, while the prophet tells you the next step, or the end point.

While Eli was not a prophet, he guided Samuel to understand, recognise and function in his prophetic gifting, when he was a child (1Samuel 3:1-11).

The teacher should not feel inferior to the apostle

Every one of the five-fold ministers is limited. And Paul wrote that the body is not just one part (Romans 12:4). Paul and Apollos ministered in the church in Corinth (1Corinthians 3). Paul was definitely the more apostolic type while Apollos is the teacher type. Paul wrote that he plants, and Apollos waters but God gives the increase.

It is not enough to do the apostolic task because you cannot plant and not water; otherwise the planting work will be a waste of time. While the apostle is focused on the big picture, the teacher help to apply the apostolic truth in real life. The teaching ministry has the rain effect (Isaiah 55:1-11, Deuteronomy 32:2).

The teacher should not feel inferior to the pastor

The pastor gets to settle down in a church setting, but the teacher needs to reach out to the whole body of Christ. The teacher deals with words while the pastor deals with feelings and therefore has people gravitating towards him, but the teacher communicates the feelings of God, as he communicates his word. The teacher communicates God’s demands, while the sheep demands from the pastor. It is therefore a balancing act. The teacher starts from word to feeling, the pastor from feeling to the word, in approach.

Conclusion

Paul said that he magnifies his ministry (Romans 11:13), he takes and presents it as very important. Being called to be an apostle to the gentile for a former Pharisee was not something he willing chose, but he embraced the calling and advanced in it, labouring more than the other apostles (1Corinthians 15:10).  He was a shining light blazing the trail. He advised someone to make full proof of his ministry (2Timothy 4:5). He sent a message to Archippus to pay attention to fulfilling the ministry God has called you to (Colossians 4:17).

When you identity yourself as a teacher then get on with it, you cannot continue to be jealous of what others have.  If you are not a teacher when you recognise one receive their ministry and understand that if they are not important then God will not put there here.  Do not close yourself to teachers of the word, recognise them, they elevate the scriptures in the midst the church and as it was noted that Jesus said. If we do not know the scriptures them we are susceptible to errors.

Spirit of Justice

amazone-622498_640Isaiah 28:6: and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

Justice means setting things in order. Jesus said that God has given him the responsibility of judging so that people will give the same honour that they give the father to him (John 5:20-25).

There are seven Spirits of God that are on Jesus, all of which made him ready for the work of judging (Isaiah 11:1-5). The work is not done lightly. Solomon specially asked for wisdom to become a good judge and God gave it to him (1Kings 3:1-13). He did what James asked us to do which is to ask wisdom from God, if anyone lacks it (James 1:4-7).

After Isaiah listed the Spirits, he said that Jesus (he did not call him that name) will not judge according to sight but will judge righteous judgment.

He will be the righteous judge. And the bible says righteousness and justice is the foundation of his throne (Psalm 89:14). That means his rule has justice and righteousness embedded in it. They dictate his action, and form the basis of our understanding his ways.

God is not haphazard, his ways are not cloudy to the diligent follower. But he operated by an higher logic than man’s; the natural man, the bible says, cannot know the things of God which are spiritually discerned (1Corinthians 2) i.e. by an higher state of consciousness.

It was added that we have the mind of Christ, i.e. the capacity to know what Christ knows, to see things from his point of view. The mind of Christ is calibrated with justice and righteousness, justice towards others and righteousness towards God.

Jesus charged others to do what he also does: “do not judge according to appearance, but judge righteous judgement (John 7:24).” That means judgement will not be righteous, if it is not representing the righteousness of God.

Judgement came upon Jesus for the sins of the world, and John wrote that when we confess our sins, God is faithful and just (from where we get the word justice) to forgive us and to clean us from all unrighteousness, i.e. that sin issue is cleansed from our consciousness, among other things (1John 1:7-9).

The justice, judgment on sin, was on Jesus and the righteousness is put on us. If the judgment is on us again, then it will be double jeopardy, but God is just and won’t do that.

Righteousness (God’s act) influences his justice, and (necessity for) justice influences righteousness (God’s action).

Judging righteously means we have moved from the point of view of men to the point of view of Christ, who sees the end from the beginning, who sees the thoughts and the intent, who sees the action and the motivation as one and the same (Hebrews 4:12).

King Saul said that he preserved certain animals that were meant to be sacrifice to God when God told him to go destroy everything that breathes in the land of the Amalekites (1Samuel 15).

The casual observer might say: oh how good he is, how he loves God, not knowing that his action smelled of rebellion. Because it was a contravention of what he clearly heard from God, the judgement was swift and sweeping, he lost the throne, the Holy Spirit left him and he became a man tormented by evil spirit. God said through Prophet Samuel that rebellion is as witchcraft. Saul manifested a heart of stone and the dividend was an hammer of judgment on him.

When Adam and Eve ate the wrong fruit in the garden of Eden, to the casual observer it may seem only fair that they should be able to have a taste of all that is in the Garden, and that God must be a kill joy to put such “lovely” fruits in the garden and say they should not eat it. They will say: since he is God, and knows everything, why did he put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden?

You might say their action was innocent and misguided, but from the point of view of the righteousness and justice of God, it was treason. It was an attempt to denigrate God because when the word of God is not obeyed, his rule is rejected, and that cannot be allowed to pass without some judgement act, or else there will be chaos in the universe, and God is not the author of confusion. That can only happen if God abdicates, stops being God, and if that happens, it means he was not God to start with. As you can see, the logic breaks down.

When Cain killed Abel, showing no regard for the image of God, in which human beings were made, the casual observer might say he was just pushed over the edge by his feeling of jealousy, but the justice of God was demanded by the blood of Abel crying to God from the ground (Genesis 4:1-13). And God acted swiftly against Cain especially as he had been warned against pulling through with the direction his emotion was leading him.

Based on the justice of God, Jesus said that the servant who knows the master’s will and did not prepare himself for it, will be given many strokes while the servant who does not know his master’s will and does not do it will get fewer strokes (Luke 12:47-48).

Jesus had the Spirit of counsel and might, to do the right thing; Spirit of understanding and wisdom to know the right things to base judgment on; the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord to be rightly motivated; and the Spirit of the Lord to rule as God the Father does. Jesus is the king that we want. Though the justice system of the world in his time did not give him justice, he will be on the earth to judge.

While dying on the cross he said: forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34). He deflected the judgment that should rightly come on those who unjustly judged him and condemned him to death.

He said to us: do not judge so that you are not judged (Matthew 7:1-2). He was stressing the need for us to extend mercy to others. Paul wrote that we should not revenge but leave vengeance to God. Planning revenge is an attempt to play God. It is too much on your plate and an invitation to become a burnt-out, biting more than you can chew. You cannot pursue vengeance and the purpose of God for your life at the same time; you capacity is not limitless like God’s.

When the Amalekites waylaid the children of Israel unprovoked when they were weak just coming from Egypt, God decided to set himself against the nation and marked them for annihilation (Exodus 17:8-16). That was God being God, as the judge bringing the justice to Israel.

In a parable concerning prayer Jesus talked about a widow who cried to a judge to give her justice against her enemy (Luke 18:1-8). That also means that to release the spirit of justice, prayer is involved, prayer is your primary role as a Christian, not vengeance or getting angry.

In the book of psalms, we read that the saints should have the praise of God in their mouth and a double edged sword in their hands to execute the judgment written (Psalm 149). So in the place of prayer our mouth becomes tools to release divine judgment.

Paul was angry at the church in Corinth that they bring cases between brothers to the secular judge, before unbelievers, amazed that no one among seemed wise enough to adjudicate between brothers, when they (Christians) are meant to judge angels (1Corinthians 6:1-6).

Jesus told the twelve apostles he chose that they will seat on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:27-28).

When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God as judge manifested to the surprise of Adam and Eve. They were totally surprised, having only experienced God as loving and tender, they did not know that God is committed his words more than he is to his emotions. They took God’s gentility to mean docility. But God judged Adam saying he ground is cursed for his sake, judged Eve that in labour she will bring forth and judged the devil the serpent saying the seed of the woman will crush his head.

So the coming of Jesus is a manifestation of the Spirit of Justice. John wrote: for this reason the son of man was manifested to destroy (as a form of judgment) the works of the devil (1John 3:8). The judgement also revealed his righteousness.

Where God’s hand rests

norway-610905_640Isaiah 25:10: For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain, and Moab shall be trampled down in his place, as straw is trampled down in a dunghill. (ESV)

“The mountain” in many places in the bible is the meeting place between God and man, and the mountain being described in the focus verse is a direct reference to the church, the mountain of the house of God (Isaiah 2:2), Mount Zion (Hebrews 12:22). And something distinct about the church, in the verse, is that the hand of God rests on the mountain.

The hand stands for various things. It stands for the move of God, the acts of God, the power of God.

Move of God

You do not get contact with God expect in the context of his church. We are the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12), and Christ is one; the church is the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-33), the body of God. That speaks of intimacy, oneness.

We do not know God apart from the church. And that calls for humility. The people of the church needs to lead you into truth, just as mighty Paul needed simple Ananias to guide him to truth (Acts 9:1-17).

The people who speak the word of God are the people of God. The church is the place of truth, any other place and we have lies (1Timothy 3:15). When God wanted to communicate the truth of the gospel to Cornelius, it was not the job of an angel, not even the job of the Holy Spirit in a direct sense, it was a job for Peter, one of the leaders of the church (Acts 10).

When persecution began in Jerusalem where the church was largely domiciled in its first few years, the Christians were spread abroad and as they went they took the message of the gospel with them and many became saved in the places where they went.

If nobody shared the good news, people will not be saved (Romans 10:13-16). People are not saved by default, they are on the way to hell by default. And they need an intervention of the gospel that can only come from the church.

It was the church, the Christians that Paul said they should have their feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). People will remain restless without peace with God, expect the church reaches out to them in one form or the other, therefore our feet are the feet of Christ to reach to people in the different places in the world.

We communicate his love, or else the world will not know it. Jesus is once set free by his body (the church) and limited by her. He is confined to her, committed to her, and she is committed to him, to his mission. She carries on his mission, otherwise it would not be done. That is how serious being the body of Christ is.

In the book of the Song of Solomon, there was this mountain of spices and the wind was asked to blow on it and spread the fragrance (Song of Solomon 4:16). And using that analogy, Paul said that through him the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ is spread to the Gentiles (2Corinthians 2:14). The Holy Spirit commissioned him and Barnabas to the reach the gentiles (Acts 13:1-5). Without that, those people are condemned to be eternally lost. The duo were God’s mercy extended.

The acts of God

Where the hand of God is where the acts of God are seen, there is the manifestation of the glory of God in the church which makes things happen.

When Jesus did miraculous, for example in the turning of water into wine, it was put to the manifestation of the glory of God. When he turned water into wine in the wedding in Cana of Galilee, John recorded that was the beginning of miracles and Jesus manifested his glory and his disciples believed him (John 2:1-11). In another place we read that without signs and wonders people will not believe (John 4:48). The psalmist said: by terrible things in righteousness, God will answer us (Psalm 65:5).

The power of God

It takes the power of God to get people saved. We know that those who are not saved are kept in bondage by the devil (2Corinthians 4:4), not willingly, but they are slaves to sin and by extension to dead and by further extension to the devil, who rules by the power of death.

Miracles were usually associated with people getting saved in the book of Acts. While a few people are converted through the ministry of Paul took the intellectual route, in the ministry of Philip in Samaria, mammoth crowd believed in Jesus, because of the display of miraculous power. However there are miracles in the ministry of Paul but they are not associated with large numbers of people becoming into salvation, like the miracles through Peter and Philip.

Speaking in favour of the demonstration of the miraculous power of God, Paul said that he does not want the faith of the people to rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God, which is a much better foundation (1Corinthians 2:1-5). So while Peter and Philip were committed to miracles to bring people to Christ, Paul was committed to miracles to deepen the commitment of believers to Christ.

Jesus associated having greater devotion to him with the manifestation of power in his name. When his disciples came to him that someone was casting out devils in his name, asking if they should stop him, he said they should leave him alone because no one can perform miracles in his name and soon after turn his back on him, deny him (Mark 9:38-39).

That is why Jesus encourages all of us to be miracle workers. Manifesting his power, deepens our understanding of him and our attachment to him and conviction about him. Miracles bring his reality closer to us, and it becomes hard to convince us against his truth. Jesus said those who believe in him will cast out devils, the will lay hands on the sick and they will recover (Mark 16:15-18). These are manifestation of the power of God which all confirms that the hand of God rests on his mountain.

Conclusion

The mountain is elevated, it is the place of elevated existence, of spiritual life, of the higher life. To experience a mountain, you do not just look at it, you have to climb it.

It is the place where we gain a new view of things, but the climb can be rigorous.  And the climb is to the height of the power, acts and move of God. But climb we must because we will not rest until we have the fullness of God.

Watchman

binoculars-436959_640Isaiah 21:11: The oracle concerning Dumah. One is calling to me from Seir, “Watchman, what time of the night? Watchman, what time of the night?”

The watchman has certain role to play. In the focus verse, certain questions were being asked that the watchman should know about. That means that the watchman is a man of unusual insight, understanding and vision. A watchman is known by the ability to see beyond the natural, beyond the obvious.

God told Ezekiel that he is making him a watchman, which means he will have insight into the future and he will be sent to people to warn them against going on routes that will lead to destruction (Ezekiel 3:17), when it comes to their behaviours.

The bible says there is a way that seems right to Man, but the end is destruction (Proverbs 16:25). The higher insight is the divine one. It keeps us safe and the watchman gets to be the voice of God.

The watchman role is attached to the prophetic gift. It is being able to peer beyond the veil of time and natural sight.

Jesus manifested as a watchman on the earth, he is the greatest of all watchmen because he is God. All true watchmen derive their function from him.

John wrote: no one has seen God at any time, but the only begotten of the father who is in the bosom of the father he has declared him (John 1:18). He has the ultimate insight into who the Father is.

He is the word of God. Someone in the bible prayed: open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of your law, your word (Psalm 119:18). With that, we can see from God’s point of view about the situations in which we find ourselves. When we see the word as we should, we also see ourselves as we should because the word is mirror (James 1:23-25). If we do not see ourselves correctly and want to be watchmen for others, it will be like seeing the speck in the eyes of others when you have a plank in your own eyes (Matthew 7:3-5). The watchman applies the word, first to himself, then to others (1Timothy 4:16).

A watchman does not only know what will happen, but also what God wants to get done and so is able to get the people ready to fall in line with the plan of God.

Moses came to rescue the children of Israel from the house of bondage by the word of God to him (Exodus 3). God told him I have now come down having heard the cries of the people the children of Israel. Later on, the bible says that by a prophet, God led the people of Israel from Egypt and through a prophet he preserved them (Hosea 12:13). Moses was watchman for the nation of Israel at that time. He connected the whole nation to the desire and demand of God for them because he was enabled to know them.

They followed God’s timing, walked on God’s path; and were guaranteed the very presence of God, they were granted safe journey. When they rejected the word of God through Moses, they suffered for it.

Jesus said he must work the work of him who sent him while it is day because the night comes when no man can work (John 9:1-5). The day is when the sight is active. That shows that we need divine insight, the light of God, to do his work.

This is because it is not the work of God if it is not directed by him. That is why Jesus said that certain people will call to him on the last day that they have done many things in his name, but he will tell them: depart from me you workers of iniquity, I know you not (Matthew 7:21-23).

Whatever they did was a manifestation of self-will, and not God’s will. The watchman is careful about the will of God since he moves, and leads others to move, according to what God is showing.

The watchman needs his eyes, and David prayed that God should open his eyes. Elisha was a watchman at a time in Israel, and gave so much insight about the plans of the enemy that he became more important to that enemy than the king, and was number one on their most wanted list (2Kings 6:8-18).

He frustrated their plans time and again. By the sheer force of his role as the watchman, he kept the nation safe. He was Israel’s edge against a more formidable army, and no weapon fashioned against Israel prospered. He was watchman indeed. He saw traps before they are even set and helps the people of Israel to escape. He was the eyes and ears of Israel in the camp of the enemy. Before he died, one king called him my father my father the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof. He was a one-man army. That was how important spiritual sight, the watchman is (2Kings 13:14).

Some sons of Issachar were once described in the bible as those who understood the times knowing what Israel should do to get the right results (1Chronicles 12:32). They helped others with their insight, helping them navigate through difficult situations.

And Daniel wrote that those who are wise will instruct many (Daniel 11:33). The teaching process is about impartation of insight, i.e. the right sight, the right understanding, to others.

Jesus came from heaven to impart the right understanding of God to us. He came to call us to repent and embrace the kingdom of God; to repent because of the coming of the kingdom of God; repent, because of the need for us to align to the ways and knowledge of God (Mark 1:15).

We do not stumble into ways of God by wishful thinking, we need to be taught. The bible says:  we will hear a voice behind us saying: this is the way walk in it (Isaiah 30:21). Without this kind of guidance, we are susceptible to deception, to come to the wrong conclusion, to embrace lies which look like truth.

Jesus does not just tell us the truth, he is the truth. That distinction is important because if Jesus merely told the truth, people who say things similar to what Jesus said might pass for truth speakers and deceive people. But since Jesus is the truth that means he is the only custodian of the truth. If the truth you are espousing is not his truth then it is no truth, you are not seeing well.

You can depend on him no matter what. If it is not him, then it is nothing. If it is not coming from him, then it is deception. The bible says: to the law and to the testimony if they do not speak according to this word it means there is no light in them (Isaiah 8:20).

When God called Jeremiah to the prophetic office he asked him: what do you see? To which he answered: I see the branch of an almond tree (Jeremiah 1:11-12). And God said to him: you see rightly. So, because you see something does not means it is right thing, because you have come to certain conclusions does not make them right conclusions. There are delusions and illusions.

John said that we should test all spirits and confirm if they are from God (1John 4:1). Because demonic spirits comes with deceptive agenda, create false revelations for the gullible to swallow, create false impression for the spiritually weak to embrace. This is the call to be strengthened in the area of spiritual sight, become true watchmen.

Saviour

sumatran-tiger-518771_640Isaiah 19:20: It will be a sign and a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt. When they cry to the LORD because of oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and deliver them. (ESV)

We need a saviour because we have fallen into the pit of sin, and every attempt at righteousness makes the pit deeper, in an endless cycle of sin, shame and death, just as Adam and Eve experienced (Genesis 3).

The bible says that our righteousness, attempts at doing right, are as filthy rags, giving off a putrid smell, far from being representative of the holiness of God (Isaiah 64:6). So if we needed anything, it was to be saved from our own efforts. The very hands that tried to do things well are soiled, polluting everything we do.

We need to be made a new. We need more than pity. The bible speaks of healing the wound of God’s people slightly (Jeremiah 8:11). We do not need that. We need something deep and total. And Jesus said that he has been anointed to bind up the brokenhearted (Luke 4:18).

He saved from sin, he saves us from our fruitless self-efforts by the gift of his righteousness (2Corinthians 5:21). He had attained the height of righteousness on our behalf. He was tempted in all points yet without sin. He has fulfilled the law (Matthew 5:17).

And the bible says that we are complete in him who is the head of principality and power. He saves us from demonic dominion (Colossians 2:10).

The saviour that is meant to be sent from God in the focus verse was an individual, just as David as an individual broke the neck of the nemesis of Israel at that time.

He was saviour, he saved the neck of the army of Israel with one strike at the forehead of Goliath, with a stone thrown from a sling (1Samuel 17).

Goliath believed they David was beneath him, and he promised to feed him to the birds of the air. He was already cutting him with his word, but it was not to be.

The devil similarly would have felt amused at the form of Jesus, the one sent to deal a death blow on him  (Revelation 12:7-9). He remembered the blow Archangel Michael dealt him in heaven when he was kicked down to earth, so Jesus coming in the form of man, and not an angel, really puzzled him. That was why the bible says that the foolishness of God is wiser than man (1Corinthians 1:25).

Jesus said to the Pharisees, an evil and an adulterous generation seek for a sign, but none shall be giving to him except the sign of Prophet Jonah, and that as Jonah was in the belly of for three days and three night Jesus would also be three days and nights in the belly of the earth (Matthew 12:38-40).

That must have been puzzling to many and even to the devil. He was going to be saviour in an unusual way. That was why Isaiah asked: who has believed our report (Isaiah 53:1)? God told Haggai: I will do a work in your days; that you will not believe even if you were told (Haggai 1:5).

Even those who prophesied about Jesus did not know the full picture of who Jesus is, that is why the bible says that those who have gone before will not be made perfect without us (Hebrews 11:39-40). It is fulfilling for them (though they are in heaven now) to experience God on the earth as saviour. And Paul said that the things about Jesus was hidden in time past but has been revealed now through the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 3:5).

Once you realise that you need saving then you must look for a saviour. But do not look further than 2000 years ago, to the cross, where Jesus was crucified.

But many people get confused about to whom they should go to save them. Some think they are their own saviours. But there is no amount of self-improvement that will get us there.

There is another issue, which is the need for us to define what we need to be saved from. The ultimate thing we need to be saved from is eternal damnation, hence the bible says that for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). God made the ultimate sacrifice to set us free from our predetermined evil end, our ultimate nemesis.

Because it is appointed for man to die once and after that is judgement, we need to be saved from eternal damnation, we need to be saved from the second death, eternal separation from God.

We need to be aware of what happens when we breathe our last. Is it a journey to the nirvana, into nothingness, or we will come back here in another form? Or is it as the bible says, eternity either heaven or hell?

But the truth is, as mentioned before, it is appointed for man to die once and after that is judgement (Hebrews 9:27). The judgement is the final decision on the eternal direction because on your decision for Christ or not.

Because the sin of man has been judged in Jesus, it does not mean that is the end of it, we still have to hear the gospel and believe it (Mark 16:15-18).

But since the devil wants company in hell, he blinds the eyes of people lest they believe the gospel (2Corinthians 4:4). The blindness manifests when we chase everything to feed the flesh and are driven by the lust of the flesh, the pride of life and, full of the love of the world.

Jesus rebuked someone for not being rich towards him (Luke 12:15-21). Jesus said certain people did not come to him that they may have life (John 5:39-40) since there is no life in any other, they remain spiritually dead.

Paul said that the children of Israel were working hard to establish their own righteousness when the only righteousness that counts is that of Jesus (Romans 10:3). That goes to show that you cannot save yourself you need a saviour and his name is Jesus.

Since what we need to be saved from is death that means what we need is life. And Jesus said that until we eat his flesh and drink his blood, we will have no life in us (John 6:53). Those actions are deliberate.

The life will not just come into you without your active involvement. It is not up to God to get you saved, it is up to you to know the truth and to embrace it to be free (John 8:30-32).

And eating the flesh and drinking blood is something shameful. That means if we cannot reject the shame associated with coming to Jesus (Hebrews 13:13), which may have to do with being mocked, and persecuted, for being involved in something that is against popular culture, or even social norms, we can count ourselves out of his life. Jesus said if we are ashamed of him in the world, he would be ashamed of us before his heavenly father (Mark 8:38).

Prevailing prayer

praying-306777_640Isaiah 16:12: And when Moab presents himself, when he wearies himself on the high place, when he comes to his sanctuary to pray, he will not prevail. (ESV)

Prayer is an attempt to do the impossible. It is the means to shake the heaven and the earth and activate the presence of God. Jesus taught us to pray some lines of prayer which revealed the possibilities that are locked up in the act (Matthew 6:9-13).

Our father who art in heaven

This shows that prayer is the means for us to connect with the father in heaven. In the Garden of Eden, man lost connection with God, but Jesus restores us back to God. But the extent to which we maximise that connection varies from person to person and is linked to our prayer life.

When we pray, the more we pray, we affirm our relationship with God. When we draw near to God, in that sense, God draws near to us (James 4:8). In constant prayer, God becomes to us, not just a name in the bible or a faraway Spirit, but someone close by.

We know that God is Spirit (John 4:24) and in prayer we chose to yield ourselves to the Spirit of God, to be touched by his presence, to access his grace as we approach the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16).

Hallowed be thy name

When we pray we acknowledge the greatness of God. We recognise his holiness. In prayer, we affirm God as special to us.

In prayer, we set our gaze on the father, and as we look to him we are transformed into who he is. The bible says that we should be holy as our heavenly father is holy, but we cannot be holy apart from him (1Peter 1:15).

For Isaiah, becoming clean was not something he can achieve on his own, he needed not only to be confronted with the holiness of God, before which he felt helpless, but he also needed to be helped  in the holiness lane by the touch of the fire of God on his tongue (Isaiah 6:1-7). The holiness that is in God, was transferred into him in the place of spiritual contact, and that is descriptive of prayer.

Thy kingdom come

When we pray we welcome the kingdom of God into our lives. Nothing should be more important than that. The kingdom of God is about his peace, power, presence and purpose activated and in full-swing.

In the place of prayer, we actively chose to conform to his will. If we do not choose to pray, it means we are not seeking the presence or the rule of God.

Prayer is an avenue for change, and praying means we are willing to change, to lose control to have God control you the more. Prayer becomes the conduit for the establishment of the kingdom of God in our lives. It is a place where we shift gear, from following our own ways to following the ways of God, from choosing our own path to choosing the path of God.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven

In this phrase, Jesus expands the scope of the impact of prayer to all the earth, which shows that nothing should be seen as being out of reach of prayer, nothing at all, no matter how knotty it looks, once we are praying according to the will of God, alignment with the preference for the rule and dominion of God, as revealed in his word. That was why the phrase we are considering is preceded by “thy kingdom come.”

Man was given dominion on the earth, but the expression of that dominion was not to be in isolation from God, and now in the place of prayer, we connect with God to expresses his dominion on the earth.

If the will of God can be done without our prayer then there is no need to pray, but it is clear from this phrase that prayer is needed and is linked to what God will do or won’t do, as the numerous testimony of scriptures show.

And if we can’t believe the scriptures, what can we believe?

Nothing on earth is beyond the reach of prayer. Every situation is amenable to, yields to, prayer attack.

Give us this day our daily bread

This immediately shows that prayer should be a daily thing. David said: morning afternoon and evening will I pray and cry aloud, and he shall hear my voice (Psalm 55:17). God can never be tired of listening to us.

A life of prayer does not make a good logic for the ordinary human being, the carnally-minded, the spiritually dead, but for the Christians it stands for fellowship with God. It is a symbol of the relationship of love that we have with God.

Since in prayer we say to God: “give me”, it is, therefore, an acknowledgment of weakness that you do not know all things and cannot do all things. We acknowledge our need for God, we express our need for a daily dose of his physical and spiritual sustenance, a daily dose of grace. As mentioned earlier, we draw near God with the understanding that by so doing, he will draw near us, according to the promise of the scriptures. And he draws near us with his sustenance.

Forgive us our trespasses

In the place of prayer, we receive forgiveness. It is not advisable to wait for a special time of prayer before we confess our sins. We should not sweep sin under the carpet even for a moment, and the first step to making amends is to confess our sins, immediately, as soon a particular one is brought to our consciousness (rather than pray something general).

When we do that, we are opening up ourselves for the cleansing work of God in our lives, otherwise we open ourselves to hardness of heart. John wrote that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1John 1:7-9).

Lead us not into temptation; deliver us from evil

When David wrote that he who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the almighty, it was a reference to prayer (Psalm 91:1). Jesus said prayer is something for the secret place (Matthew 6:6).

He said: when we want to pray, we should go to God in the secret of our room and the God who hears in secret will reward us openly. We gain divine protection in the place of prayer, it is there we put on the whole armour of God as recommended by Paul and we are able to wrestle against principalities and power, and push back the wiles of the devil, and the fiery darts of the enemy in prevailing prayer (Ephesians 6:1-10).

Resting in the works of Christ

jesus-558429_640Isaiah 14:3: When the LORD has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, (ESV)

The plan of God is that we all enter into rest. He made man to enjoy rest. Even his work in the Garden of Eden was to be marked by rest but when he sinned his portion was changed. He moved from rest to distress as it was declared that in the sweat of man’s brow shall he eat (Genesis 3).

Before the fall of man his main focus was pleasing God, living for him and maximising his divine possibilities. But afterwards his life was reduced to that of an animal which is about eating. Man becomes limited in scope, in vision, he was subjugated.

The place of rest is the place of control, but because of sin, the devil began to rule over man with the power of death, being the judgment over sin (Hebrews 2:14). And God said man was going to return to the dust, after a toilsome life.

However, in Jesus God pressed reset in his relationship with Man, and he came back into his favour.

The first step was to stop Man from stressing himself out, from working so hard, sweating it out, to come into favour with God.

The blood of Jesus qualifies us to come to the presence of God from where Adam and Eve were chased in the first few chapters of the bible. The bible says: we can now draw near to the throne of Grace to find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). A man who received help from God without cost is at rest.

Man’s restlessness in seeking the favour of God manifests in his setting up different gods for himself, and creating layers of rituals for their worship, in an attempt to connect with what was lost in the real connection with God, which he was not made to live without.

Jesus told a woman: the time is now when those who worship God will worship him in spirit and in truth, and by journeying to a mountain or Jerusalem (John 4:19-24); that speaks the restful worship of God, the stress is out of it. It is stressful to worship without the assurance of divine response. But Jesus opens the gate for us to worship God truly.

Only in Jesus can we really be sure that our sins are forgiven, and we get a new heart for a brand new start with the past buried and forgotten (Ezekiel 36:26). We do not have to start over really, that our history is wiped off and replaced with the history of Jesus and therefore God can legitimately pour on us his blessing, favour and grace and glory.

We rest from our own works and get the benefits of the work of Jesus on the cross. That is why the bible says he was bruised for our transgression, we have no more payment to make for our sin; by his stripes we were healed (Isaiah 53), that repercussion of sin is removed from us and we have, shining on us, the beaming smile of God, as light filling us with the divine pleasure.

What you focus one either gives you rest or distress. Jesus said that the heart of men will begin to fail them because they will be looking at those things that are coming upon the earth (Luke 21:26).

Those who wait upon the Lord (which is another focus) the bible says, will renew their strength (Isaiah 40:28-31); that means they will live as if not expending any energy whatsoever, they will always be refreshed as we connect with the endless reservoir of God from where the divine initiative and ability continue to flow to us.

Paul said it this way that: God has through us spread the fragrance of the knowledge of God (2Corinthians 2:14); God is the one doing the work, we are just channels. He said that we have this treasure in earthen vessels so that the Excellency of the power will be of him and not of us (2Corinthians 4:7). So we work in rest; he works in us in connection with the Holy Spirit.

John said that Jesus was full of grace and truth (John 1:14-17). That is the key to our rest, as we are the infusion of the grace of God and line up with his truth, on the street paved by his grease.

When we are at rest, we can think straight, our mind uncluttered by fear worry and depression (2Timothy 1:6-7). Rest shows we are trusting in God and the bible says that those who trust in God will be like Mount Zion that can never be moved (Psalm 125:1); rather than being moved you will move things. Jesus said that if we have faith as small as the mustard seed we will say to a mountain be uprooted and be thrown into the sea and it shall obey us (Matthew 21:18-22). Faith is rest, trust in God.

Those words of Jesus show that the divine ability is activated when we stand in faith. When the disciples were not able to cast our a demon from someone who was brought to them for the purpose of deliverance, Jesus said it was because of their lack of faith; without faith, it is all effort and no result, they sweated in the process of setting the captive free (Matthew 17:15-20).

Being at rest means we are working with the Holy Spirit. Things were smooth in the ministry of Jesus because he was working with the Holy Spirit. He said the Spirit of the Lord is on him because he has anointed him, to do things for people (Luke 4:18-19). The anointing is the oil that reduced friction, overcomes our internal and external opposition to the flow of the divine will and power; that is the right path the right choice, the route to victory.

Following the word of God is also the path of rest. When Paul was persecuting the church, Jesus told him in an encounter with him on the way to Damascus that “you are kicking against the pricks (Acts 9:1-7).” Any attempt to move against the will of God is to injure ourselves, the move against the flow of divine energy is to deplete your own energy, lose your own ability; become entrapped by the antics of the devil who is the prime enemy of all things God including the will of God.