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The Will of God – A Holy Sanctuary

https://youtu.be/LB0Qy2HtusU

Since the beginning of time, God is seeking a people who could be His holy sanctuary and dwelling place. The story of God’s people provides us with a roadmap for our spiritual growth as an individual but also for the greater body of Christ. 

Removed from the Sanctuary

God’s story with humanity begins in a temple-like garden where we are in perfect, holy union with the divine. Man believes a lie: he must eat some forbidden fruit to be like God and to know good and evil.  Consequently, man is cast out of this holy sanctuary.[1]  Later, God would reveal himself to one of Adam’s descendants, Abraham, who would become the Arch-father of God’s called-out special people.[2] This group of people, a family of twelve tribes, receive their existence from serving God, doing what God says.  If they serve God with their whole heart, they are blessed.  In contrast, when they become passive and indifferent, they are dispersed and lose everything.  

A Redeemer Leads Them Back to a Holy Land

Because of a series of do-it-our-own-way acts of disobedience, they become slaves to the Egyptians, working hard to build their pyramids and shrines. An ex-Egyptian king, a Hebrew called Moses, inspired this leaderless group of slaves to follow him to a promised Utopia-like land of milk and honey – Canaan. God revealed Himself to this group of slaves with divine signs and wonders and a continual supernatural cloud that they learned to follow through the desert.[3]  

Then God asked Moses to build Him a tent of meeting. [4] King Solomon, Israel’s genius, a “Nobel prize winner”, constructed an impressive temple.  Solomon doubted that his temple could contain God almighty,[5] yet continued, and God visited the temple periodically with His cloud. [6]

Rulers and Kings – A Nation Divided

After Solomon, the nation was divided into the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.  None of the kings of the ten tribes of Israel served God.  Eventually, God’s judgement came about at the hands of the Assyrians, whose foreign policy was to disperse and divide the nations they conquered among all its various subjects.

On the other hand, eight of the nineteen kings who reigned in Judah served God and brought about some reforms in their lifetime – for example, Hezekiah and Josiah.  

Exile!

Regrettably, they also continued a path of rebellion and disloyalty towards God, and God elevated the Babylonians to destroy everything. They flattened the walls, the temple and the city of Jerusalem.  The best young men became eunuchs in Babylon.  

The Book of Lamentations came about as to how the remnant dealt with corporate grief. Then a young eunuch called Daniel, who became state secretary because of his accuracy of interpreting the king’s dreams, saw in the scriptures that this punishment would only last seventy-years.  During his ministry in Babylon, three pagan kings, one Babylonian and two Persians, acknowledged that the God of the Hebrews was the only true God. 

Return From Exile

God then used Ezra and one pagan ruler called Cyrus to fund and rebuild the temple, a smaller and more humble physical structure, but called it, “greater than the former” by the Prophet Haggai. [7] The Persian King Artaxerxes, permitted Nehemiah the cupbearer to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days.  Malachi is the last Prophet who spoke the oracles of God before a 400-year silence and the arrival of Jesus Christ.  

Following their return from exile, the people of Israel lived as a restored community in the land of Palestine. However, instead of learning from their past negative experiences and serving and loving God will all their heart, soul and strength, they became immoral and careless. The reforms initiated by the post-captivity leaders Nehemiah and Ezra had not prevented a severe spiritual decline among the Israelite population. Malachi, the scribe, was burdened with the spiritual problems of his people.[8]

Sanctuary Restored But People Not Interested

God was reasoning with His people in a question-answer fashion.  God found their religious sacrifices contemptuous, fabricated, and insincere.  This half-hearted religion is evident in leaders who do not speak out against lawlessness while committing the same evils.[9] Their marriage covenants exhibited the same adultery and disloyalty of heart.[10] The withholding of tithes and offerings were further evidence of their passive resistance against God. [11]

Promise of Open Heaven

Surprisingly the tone changes – there is a promise of open heaven!! 

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the LORD of hosts; “And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the LORD of hosts. (Mal 3:10-12) 

A Holy Remnant

Through all these hundreds of years, the goal is still today: I want a people to be my sanctuary, my Eden, my delight, so that I can bless them to be a blessing to the nations. 

The dialogue continues as the people complain by saying: ‘It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, And that we have walked as mourners before the LORD of hosts? (Mal 3:14). It seems that the wicked are more blessed than the righteous! This is the accusation against God! 

The dialogue changes; this time, the people of God, the remnant, start speaking to one another! Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another,  And the LORD listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name. “They shall be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.” (Mal 3:16-17). 

Heaven has been keeping a record, a book of remembrance, of eternal vindication of all the righteous acts of courage and faith. 

The day of the Lord is coming. A “day” means a moment in time, a change of season. Salvation is always in one day. “shall a nation be birth in a day?” (Isa 66:8) All the great stories of deliverance in the Bible happened in one day! Sacred moments in time, where heaven meets earth. 

But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; And you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves. You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet. On the day that I do this,” Says the LORD of hosts. (Mal 4:2-3) 

The Will of God – Jesus is Sanctuary!

Jesus is the fulfilment and enactment of this prophecy of an open heaven: Jesus is the day of the Lord. He is the birth of a new nation.  He is the gateway and entrance to a permanent spiritual sanctuary in the Spirit. 

“And Jesus, having been baptized, went up straightway from the water, and lo, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him: and behold, a voice out of the heavens saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I have found my delight.” (Mat 3:16)

Remember Jesus received this blessing before He did any miracle or drove out any demons. He got this divine heavenly endorsement being an ordinary artisan and faithful to His earthly parents. 

Those in CHRIST experience an OPEN HEAVEN – a here on earth as it is in heaven reality! He showed us to live this reality (Heb 4:14-16). He fulfilled His earthly ministry from an open-heaven reality, temple, sanctuary, mobile, temporary tent-like body displaying and revealing God’s glory.  

The Final Destruction of the Temple Made With Hands

Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (Mt 24:1–2) see Mark 13:1-2; Luke 21:5, 6. 

Jesus cleanses the temple: John 2:13-22 

Jesus proclaimed the temple would be destroyed and rebuild in three days. (Matt. 26:61; Mark 14:58; Matt. 27:40; Mark 15:29),

“But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.”  (Isa 66:2). 

“God does not live in shrines made with hands.” (Acts 17:24). 

Roman General Titus finally destroyed the City in 70AD.

His Sanctuary Is His Church

  • The body of Christ is now His temple and sanctuary (John 2:21)
  • Something more significant than the temple is here (Matt. 12:6)
  • You are God’s temple, and God’s Spirit lives in you (1 Cor. 3:16)
  • The temple of God is holy, which temple you are (1 Cor. 3:17)
  • Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19)
  • We are the temple of the living God (2 Cor. 6:16)
  • The whole building is growing into a holy temple (Eph. 2:21)
  • I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God (Rev. 3:12)
  • what agreement has the temple of God with idols? (2 Cor. 6:16).

  • The whole church as God’s temple (Eph 2:21-22)

He is Eden, tabernacle, open heaven, tent of meeting, city, nation, culture, mountain, the glory of God!!!

For more on the Priestly mandate of the Church.

An Empowered Sanctuary

After all that Jesus had done, only 120 people [12] obeyed the command of Jesus to wait until they were endowed by power from heaven.  120 become 3000, and 5000, “and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” The sanctuary of God is established and demonstrated throughout the earth! Being all of the goodness, and fullness of God and a blessing to the nations!

https://hrco.co.za/raak-betrokke/


[1] Gen 3

[2] Gen 12 

[3] Exo 13:21-22

[4] Exo 25:8 H4720. מִקְדָּשׁ miqdāš: A masculine noun meaning a holy or sacred place, a sanctuary. As a nominal form from the verb qāḏaš (H6942), meaning to be set apart or to be consecrated, this noun designates that which has been sanctified or set apart as sacred and holy as opposed to the secular, common, or profane. 

[5] 2 Chron 2:5-6

[6] 2 Chron 5:14 

[7] Haggai 2:9 

[8] Hayford, Jack W., ed. Spirit Filled Life Study Bible. electronic ed. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997. Print.

[9] Malachi 2:6-9.

[10] Mal 2:14-16.

[11] Malachi 3:8-11.

[12] Acts 1:15

Categories
Sermons

Breath Is Life.

Breath Is Life

Currently, many people feel emotionally, mentally and financially out of breath and short of breath. It’s like we’ve lost our rhythm.

Jesus Christ is the breath of our lives and came to give life, and life in abundance (John 10:10).

Healthy emotions, relationships, business and physical fitness consist of a rhythm of give and take, work and rest, love and faith. Currently we are struggling to find this natural rhythm again. Again, Jesus Christ came to give life, and life in abundance.

Some people feel hooked, struggling to catch their breath!

Flourish Spiritually

To thrive in mental health, we must therefore remove all obstructions and limitations to a harmonious deep rhythmic breathing. [1]. Routine and rhythm are indispensable to soul happiness and rewarded satisfaction. When going through emotional trauma, one has to fight for a weekly routine of:

  • regular spiritual gathering and connection
  • exercise
  • sleep
  • restorative meals
  • creative work
  • give and service
  • play and have fun
  • grow and learn to maintain time.

Rest and Work

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. ” (Mat 11: 28-30

When people lack rest they suffer physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Physical and mental exhaustion can often lead to emotional volatility, as a poorly rested individual become easily irritated and / or anxious. This lack of rest can escalate into larger issues. Relationships become strained. Over time a person’s spiritual life — a connection to God and the deepest meaning and joy in life — becomes diminished too. [2]

God balances creative work with the seventh day of rest (Gen 1:31). He also calls the day of rest holy. This day is therefore set apart, set aside for God’s use.

The Jubilee

The jubilee was the Jews’ determined political will to never duplicate the inhuman system of the Egyptian Pharaoh. The anniversary serves as a social service to their people, where each citizen remains his fellow citizen’s brother, thus ensuring each other’s future. Because the poor person I ignore today becomes the thief who steals from me tomorrow.

When I buy land that I have to repay after 49 years, or debt that I have to write off after 7 years, then I keep relationship with the borrower. This is to make sure he or she is able to pay off the debt ahead of time. Thus, society does not become a victim of cumulative debt (Deut. 15: 1-5).

The Sabbath

Sabbath is a form of release, release, strike, release, release. I give up my body with which I work, I let my body rest. In doing so, I also give up the land on which I earn an income, and let it rest. For one day a week, owner and servant are equal. The slave does not serve his master, and the master is not served. Both are works of creation created in the image of God, who enjoys His grace in gratitude. That is why the Sabbath meal is a feast.

The poor person saves to enjoy at least fresh bread with butter, honey, and salt; A royal meal! The owner is no longer in control of his servant’s body. During Jubilee, the owner also relinquishes control of the land.

The Pharaoh did not want the people to go for three days to sacrifice to their God (Ex 5: 1-2). Through the Jubilee, each owner becomes a type of Moses and a royal Father who frees his people from slavery. One day a week, and every seven years, people are delivered from the pyramid hierarchy of positional imperialism and dominance. All are again delivered from systemic Egypt, the place of slavery.

“When a fellow Israelite in your neighborhood becomes so indebted that he sells himself to you as a slave, you may not let him do slave labor.” (Leviticus 25:39)

“Because I brought the Israelites out of Egypt, they are my servants. Therefore, they may not be sold as slaves to anyone. Out of reverence for your God, you must not treat such a fellow Israelite harshly. ” (Leviticus 25: 42–43)

“Which can be bequeathed to your children by you as possessions and which will be their slaves for life. However, you must never enslave your fellow Israelites. ” (Leviticus 25:46)

“He worked as a day laborer year after year for the non-Israelite. You have to make sure that he is not treated harshly. ” (Leviticus 25:53)

 “Six years you may sow your fields and reap the harvest, but in the seventh year you shall let it fall. The poor among your people may eat of the storehouse, and what they leave behind may be eaten by the wild beasts. In six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day, you shall not work so that your cattle and donkeys may rest and your laborers and the strangers may be with you a little. create breath. ” (Exodus 23: 6-12)

Say unto the children of Israel, When ye come into the land which I give you, there shall be rest for the land unto the LORD: six years ye shall sow the land, and prune the vineyards, and gather in the fruits thereof; the seventh year shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the whole land, a sabbath of rest to the Lord. Then ye shall not sow, nor prune the vineyards. Ye shall not even pluck the corn of the vine, or of the grapes of the vine undressed. It must be a year of complete rest for the country. It must be a year of complete rest for you. You, your slaves, your slave girls, your day laborers, and the attendants in your land, as well as your animals and the game, must live on what the veld produces. ” (Leviticus 25: 2–6)

“He must offer the veins as a wave offering to Me, the Lord so that you will be acceptable to Me. The priest must do this the day after the Sabbath. ” (Leviticus 23:11)

The Sabbath Rest

The Sabbath rest literally means to give up control of the hand, release your grip, give over your control. The highlight of the anniversary is after 49yrs the ownership of the land is returned to the original owner. (Lev 25: 23-28, 54)

This act of giving away prevents owners from becoming magnates, becomes more possessed than they need, and reminds everyone that they are stewards of God’s land. (Leviticus 26:35)

Land that did not rest, a.g.v. their disobedience will rest, in the time of punishment.

II Chronicles 36:21 explicitly connects Jeremiah’s figure of 70 to Lev. 26: 34-35: “Those who survived the sword, God exiled to Babylon… in fulfillment of the word of Adonai spoken by Jeremiah ‘until the land has repaid its Sabbaths, as long as it lay desolate it kept its Sabbath until seventy years were complete. ” Then, in the Book of Daniel, the 70 years became “seventy‘ weeks ’” = 70 x 7 = 490 years. Only with the passage of that period would the sin that caused the exile to be fully expiated (Daniel 9:24).

Rest is therefore a direct implicit “celebration” of FREEDOM! So we are no longer slaves! Slavery is thus equated with torturous abuse and relentless non-stop work. By celebrating our REST, and coming together as believers, we break with any slave drivers in our lives!

The solar system breathes – Centripetal and Centrifugal Force

Centripetal force is defined as the force acting on a body moving in a circular path directed at the center to which the body is moving. The term comes from the Latin words center for center and petere, meaning “to seek”. Centripetal force can be considered as the middle-seeking force. Its direction is orthogonal to the movement of the body in the direction of the center of curvature of the body’s path. Centripetal force changes the direction of an object’s movement without changing its speed.

While centripetal force acts to pull a body toward the center of the point of rotation, the centrifugal force (mid-flight force) pushes away from the center. [3]

Churchhood, like the solar system, also consists of an inward-looking search for intimacy, closeness, connection, and fellowship (Fellowship) in balance with an outward-looking focus on mission, mandate, calling, and ministry. These two forces work like our breathing rhythm in harmony and regularity with each other. The one can not do without the other!

Love your neighbor as yourself

Matt. 5:43; 19:19; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; [Rom. 13: 9; Gal. 5:14]; James 2: 8

Psychologists warn that healthy self-love is indispensable to fellow human love. But fellow human love is not sustainable without self-love. So we always have to keep the two in balance. Again natural harmonious breathing.

Temple – Naos – Ministry to God and ministry to your fellow man

The Greek word for temple is Naos: The word is content the seamless ministry to God in our sacrifices, praise, and worship and then again our ministry to one another and our fellow man. These two aspects of our temple being flowed like Jesus’ example comfortably and without hindrance. Jesus’ mountain encounters with God, of course, flow to ministry, healing of the sick, and casting out demons, and then again withdrawing to be alone.

Spring & Summer – Both have a specific indispensable purpose.

For the survival of the cycle of life, a good winter is necessary, to ensure a good summer. The one serves, as it were, the other. The leaves fall off, and become compost. Death and life are a natural cycle.

The whole Jewish concept of God is anchored around the cyclical seasons of the year. Daily life as farmers was intertwined with the temple calendar’s three most important feasts: the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Passover is at the beginning of the grain harvest. This was followed by the Feast of Weeks, or the Feast of Pentecost 50 days later where the first fruits of the wheat harvest were gathered. The Feast of Tabernacles was held towards the end and completion of the grain harvest.

If we want to understand God’s seasons in our lives, we must learn to receive and to be able to give. Many people get hooked and struggle to receive. Others struggle to give again. The spiritual life is a seamless cyclical flow of receiving and giving. When you receive the honor, immediately return it to the Lord and honor someone else. The pay-it-forward movement teaches people to return the gift they received to the next “random” person. Freely you have received, freely give. (Mat 10: 8)

Allow the life-giving Spirit of God to give you a new second breath to complete the journey of faith to the end!


[1] https://af.j2gmn.com/7587-disorders-of-the-daily-rhythm-are-often-the-cause-of.html

[2] Contributors: David Kim and Leah Archibald Adopted by the Theology of Work Project Board February 22, 2016.

https://www.theologyofwork.org/key-topics/rest-and-work-overview

[3] https://af.eferrit.com/wat-is-sentripetale-force/

Categories
Sermons

PRAYER – the drama of a quiet time with God

Key verse: 2 Chronicles 7 verse 14

Salutation

Thank you, Pastor Jan, for your kind and gracious welcome. Allow me to greet the online congregation and other viewers. Thank you for your time and interest.

My sermon tonight will be more of a reflective meditation than a traditional sermon. I want to invite you to journey with me through the book of Chronicles (particularly 2nd Chronicles) in the Old Testament. I have chosen as a key verse 2 Chron chapter 7 verse 14 – a well-known verse:

“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.” 

The focus of my reflection is embedded in its title: PRAYER – the drama of a quiet time with God.

Framework for sermon

Allow me to frame my reflections by asking a direct and somewhat personal question: When do we pray? I’m not asking what time of the day. I am asking, what triggers you or what causes or what circumstances have and are forcing you to pray? Are these circumstances celebratory and full of praise or are they embedded in tragedy and a sense of defeat and helplessness forcing you to call on the name of God? 

Unfortunately, we often only pray when there is a crisis – a context of personal or national drama or tragedy. We often only engage with God when we have run out of options – when we are feeling a sense of helplessness – Oh God help me. We are like a patient in the trauma unit/casualty ward of the hospital after being involved in a terrible accident and in need of emergency care and treatment which we ourselves cannot do or administer. 

Ideally, our prayer life should be an ongoing communication / communing with God – including elements of praise and adoration of God … the creator of the universe – the great divine – that which the prophets of old sometimes described as “the ancient of days” – that which is beyond us – that which is both mysterious and yet understandable[1] at the same time – that which is out in the universe and at the same time close to us and in us. As the Apostle Paul teaches in the New Testament, our bodies are the temple of God – a place that houses God – and yet we know that we cannot put God in a box or confine God to a physical place. Christian believers will echo that God dwells in us and among us – an incarnation of the divine.

Application of prayer and transition to the text

So my question remains: When do you pray? Another way of reframing it is to ask: When do we commune with God – or When are we available for God to communicate with us? Are we so busy that there is no headspace and no heart space for God to communicate with us?

In the text which we are considering and reflecting on tonight, this becomes a poignant issue.

We learn from 2 Chron 7 verses 11-13 that God appeared to Solomon at night, first of all, and secondly, God appeared when Solomon was finished with the building and dedication of the temple and the royal palace/residence. 

In other words, Solomon had a headspace to hear God. Sometimes we are so busy that the noise of our busyness drowns out the voice of God. 

So, the writer of the book of Chronicles carefully creates the atmosphere and we need to pay close attention as we, the outsiders and modern-day readers of the story, anticipate the dynamics of the interaction between God and Solomon.

You see Chapter 7 of 2nd Chronicles – which is our narrow focus this evening and from which our key verse comes … this chapter 7 is a description of what happened immediately after the building and the dedication of the first-ever temple and royal residence/palace that was built for the King of the Hebrew people – in this instance King Solomon, son of King David.

We are told in Chapter 8 verse 1 that this temple and palace building project took 20 years:

  • Chp 8 Verse 1 – At the end of twenty years, during which Solomon built the temple of the Lord and his own palace, (2) Solomon rebuilt the villages that Hiram (King of Tyre – see ch 2 verse 3).

So twenty years was the duration and length of this building project. It was by far the most ambitious building project ever to be undertaken by the Hebrew people of God. The writer of Chronicles tells us in copious and fine detail how the building project was organised and financed. It makes for fascinating reading. For example, the project created 153 600 jobs – of which 70 000 were carriers, 80 000 were stone cutters and 3,600 were foremen/building supervisors (chapter 2 verse 17-18). And that was just the labour component. 

The procurement of materials was equally fascinating and included the best timber from Lebanon and huge quantities of precious metals including gold, silver, bronze and iron. We find these details in 2 Chron chapter 2 (esp. verses 7-8).

Interestingly, Solomon wrote a letter or request – a kind of procurement order – to the King of Tyre (Hiram) requesting his assistance. Solomon had made a special request that the King of Tyre sends his most skilled artisan –  in fact, a metallurgist – skilled in working with precious metals. This person had a name – Huram-Abi (chp 2 verse 13).

The motivation for the building f the temple is explained by Solomon in his letter to the King of Tyre as follows:

(Chapter 2 Verse 5) – The temple I am going to build will be great, because our God is greater than all other Gods.

Later in the same chapter, Solomon says: (verse 9b)

  • “the temple I build must be large and magnificent”. 

Theological doubt or affirmation

So Solomon’s strategic plan was to build a magnificent temple. And in the midst of communicating his strategic plan to a neighbouring King of Tyre, Solomon exposes a theological strand of doubt or was it an affirmation. It is at this moment in the narrative that one sees and senses that in the midst of the energy to build the temple, there is that niggly thought as expressed by Solomon in his letter to this foreign King of Tyre.

Solomon says to this King: “I am going to build a magnificent temple to my God. But ….  And this is a BIG but …( Chp 2 verse 6 – Solomon says): 

But who is able to build a temple for him (God), since the heavens cannot contain him? Who then, am I to build a temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices before him”. 

Wow! Do you sense some tension within the soul of Solomon? Or is it just me. Here we have Solomon – who by the way – is writing to a foreign King – and is sharing with this foreign King a strand of theological doubt or was it an affirmation?

Solomon is driven by some very clear goals and objectives – namely to build a magnificent temple for God. And in the same breath he affirms (to a foreigner – and not to his own religious leaders – or priests) that God cannot be put in a building – in a box – because not even the heavens can contain him (chp 2 verse 6). 

Sometimes, it is easier and safer to express your spiritual doubts to a stranger than to an insider – because a stranger will be less judgmental of you. Imagine Solomon called the priests together and said:

I’m building the magnificent temple .. but actually … it might be a bit futile because not even this temple will be able to contain God – no matter how magnificent it is going to be.  

The same theological affirmation (and sentiment) is later expressed in Solomons public prayer of dedication – that first prayer uttered during the inaugural ceremony and the official opening of the newly built temple. 

Imagine the scene: the temple is completed; the inaugural ceremony begins – (chapter 6 verse 12). I quote:

Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel and spread his hands … he stood on the platform and then knelt down before the assemble of Israel and spread out his hands towards heaven. (14) He said (prayed):  Oh Lord God of Israel there is none like you … . 

And Solomon proceeds to offer the first-ever prayer of dedication in the newly built temple. And as if, he was haunted by his private theological doubt which he expressed to the King of Tyre in chapter 2 verse 6, he repeats that same doubt – or affirmation (depending on your perspective) and says in chapter 6 verse 18: 

Verse 18 – But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple that I have built. Yet, give attention to your servant’s prayer and his pleas for mercy, Oh Lord my God, Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence (chapter 6 verse 19).

Jump to our key verse

It is that cry and prayer made by God’s servant, King Solomon, which God now responds to in the next Chapter – chapter 7 verse 12:

The Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said: “I have heard your prayer (referring to the prayer uttered in Chapter 6). 

So as astute biblical students we should take a careful look at this prayer that God has heard and to which God is now providing an answer/response. What exactly did Solomon pray? Let me summarise the prayer which had at least seven aspects; You can read it for yourself in 2 Chron 6 verses 14 to 42. It is a long prayer and covers a wide range of topics such as:

(v.22) Wrongdoing against one’s neighbour.

(v.24) What happens when you are defeated in war/battle.

(v.26) How does one interpret environmental disasters such as drought, 

(v.28) How does one interpret and deal with famine, poverty, disease, the onslaught by foreign enemies

(v.32) how to deal with foreigners

(v.34) how to deal with warfare

(v.36) how to deal with sin – noting that no one is without sin; But more poignantly, how to deal with sin when you are in captivity in a land far away from your homeland – far away from the temple where you would normally offer your prayers and sacrifices.

These are the topics covered in Solomons prayer of dedication as recorded in 2 Chron chapter 6 and chapter 7 is God’s response.

In my view, chapter 6 is a rather strange mix of topics for a celebratory service. After all, it’s time for celebration and not for mourning or national depression. Did the book of Ecclesiastes not say that there is a time and place for everything? And therefore, was the dedication of the temple and the first prayer uttered by Solomon not a time for celebration? Where and how do the topics of captivity and exile and warfare and famine and natural disasters – where and how do these fit into the picture of celebration and the opening of the magnificent temple? 

500 years later

A clue is to ask the question: So who is writing up this story of the dedication of the temple? And where is this writer located? Biblical scholars tell us that the book of Chronicles was written 500 years after Solomon built the temple. They also tell us that the writer of Chronicles was probably Ezra – the Hebrew sent back to his homeland by King Cyrus of Persia.

Ezra (and later Nehemiah) was sponsored by the Persian Colonial government to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the temple which had been destroyed through successive colonial regimes. It was the Babylonians under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar who destroyed the temple, which you will recall from your knowledge of biblical history. The babylonian colonial policy was to exile the skilled classes so that they could build up the infrastructure of Babylon. You will recall some of the laments of the Hebrew people of God in Exile – How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land.

The Persian colonial / foreign policy was different to the Babylonians and it was more lenient. The Persians sponsored a repatriation program and a rebuilding of the city and temple in exchange, I suspect, for political loyalty. Let’s be realistic about these things. Nothing for nothing especially when dealing with political forces such as imperialistic and colonial minded rulers.

Given this background, allow me some interpreter’s licence. I want you to imagine that you and I are Ezra or Nehemiah. We return to the land of our foremothers and forefathers – our cultural ancestors – we return to the holy city of Jerusalem. And what is the sight that greets us? A pile of stones – rubble and dirt – where once upon a time in the past, 500 years ago, here stood the temple built by King Solomon – a magnificent temple. But now, it lay in ruins – the Hebrew people scattered as a result of colonial conquest – a people who have lost their land, their culture, their language, their way and place of worship – a devastated people.

And so, Ezra (or whoever the writer was of Chronicles) re-writes the history of the country – and that is what the book of Chronicles is – it is a retelling of the history but from the vantage point of 500 years of devastation, sin, wrongdoing against a neighbour, warfare, drought, famine, captivity. Its sounds almost like the themes in Solomon’s prayer recorded in Chapter 6.

God’s answer to the prayer

God’s answer to Solomons prayer – his long prayer – is summarised by God in one verse. God is saying and responding to a long catalogue of laments with one summary statement:

  • If my people ….. who are called by my name …..

There are at least four things that are required if forgiveness and healing is to take place according to this verse:

(  1) If my people humble themselves – so humility is needed and not arrogance.

( 2) If my people humble themselves and pray …. So prayer is needed. We need to communicate with God.

( 3 ) If my people … thirdly … turn from their wicked way …. – so a decision needs to be made to live a God-fearing life – a decision is needed – to actively turn away from evil.

( 4) Fourthly, If my people seek my face – in other words, seek God’s wisdom and counsel and do not lean on your own understanding, says the Proverbs.

If you do these things, says God, “I will hear from heaven (not from the temple – not from the holy of holies) – but from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land”. (2 Chron 7: 14).

Wow! This is how the Chronicler records the exchange between God and Solomon that night during Solomon’s quiet time with God.

The drama – the trauma

Now I do not know who is more traumatised – Solomon when he built and dedicated the temple or the writer of Chronicles who is standing among the ruins of the once magnificent temple – and recalling the glory days of when the temple was built – but now all that remains is dust and ruins.

Conclusion                        

Where to find God

Solomon built a magnificent temple, no doubt. And in fairness to Solomon, the text describes him as wrestling with the omnipresence of God. You will recall Solomon saying: I’m building a temple for God but the temple cannot confine God to a physical place. Solomon wrestles (or is it the Chronicler who wrestles) with the profound question captured in : (chp 6 verse 18) – 

But will God really dwell on the earth? The heavens, even the highest heavens cannot contain God” says Solomon in his prayer of dedication (2 Chron 6: 18).

So if your theology was temple bound – and you understood God to be confined to your expression of where to find God – then it must have been traumatic to look over the rubble, the ruins, the dust, the stones of where the temple once stood and you must have been confronted with the question; If the temple was destroyed, was God also destroyed?

I want to believe that a similar sense of despair is felt when reflecting on the holocaust and other episodes of genocide in human history: Did God die in the gas chambers? Did God die on the rocks on which the heads of our indigenous people were smashed in the 1700s in our history?

Where is God to be found if the temple no longer stands? 

An uncharacteristic prayer

Solomon’s inaugural public prayer at the opening and dedication of the temple, in my view, was uncharacteristic – somewhat out of character, until I accept that this is a recollection of an event retold 500 years after the event and retold by a leader/historian who is starring at the ruins of what was once a magnificent temple.

The writer of Chronicles focuses our attention on the summary statement which God made to Solomon and which applied to his day: A response to the prayer of Solomon.

  • “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.”

Application

So what does all this mean for us today? There are so many lessons one can extract from this short reflective meditation. 

But perhaps one application for today could be that when we pray when we have our quiet time with God – when we have shut out the noises that distract us – when our hearts and minds are ready to hear what God has to say – perhaps then we should follow the model provided by Jesus who said (Matthew 6 verses 5ff):

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray to stand in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men/people .. (6) But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, don’t keep on babbling like the pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.  (v9) This then is how you should pray: 

Our father in heaven 

Hallowed be your name

Your kingdom come

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our debts/sins,

As we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from the evil one.

AMEN


[1] fathomable, intelligible, understandable. apparent, clear, evident, manifest, obvious, open-and-shut, palpable, patent, perspicuous, plain, straightforward, transparent, unambiguous, unequivocal, unmistakable.

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Biblical ANTIVIRUS against destructive thoughts and ideas

Most people remember INCEPTION the mind-bending dream-within-a-dream film about corporate espionage. It tells the story of a thief called Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) who extracts corporate secrets using dream-sharing technology and the science of planting an idea in someone’s mind. Cobb says in the film: “The smallest seed of an idea can grow, and it can grow to define or destroy you.” Towards the end of the film, we realize that it was the idea that “Your world isn’t real” that led his wife to her tragic suicide.  

Our thoughts are so powerful that they can determine the course of our lives.

There are two prominent scriptures about the war in our minds in the NT. 

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph 6:12) 

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (2 Cor 10:3-10) 

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Rom 8:29) 

These scriptures give us a biblical epistemology of how one receives ideas, knowledge and hence become actions and subconscious lifestyle. 

Principality: Archḗ is the beginning of something, as the beginning of a line, road, and so forth. The line or road is conceived in one’s mind, but where he touches the paper to draw the line is the beginning of the line (Matt. 19:8; Mark 1:1; 10:6; 13:8). When talking to people one quickly begins to sense a particular Archḗ Principality that governs their life. Certain: Ideologies like racism, beliefs like evolution, emotions like anxiety, ideas about vaccines, and conspiracy theories. One almost wants to lose hope in humanity hearing with what conviction people speak the lies they believe.  

The power of Ideas

  • Emotions follow and energize our thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. 
  • There is nothing on earth more powerful than an idea. 
  • Ideas produce everything. 
  • Everything began as an idea. 
  • Ideas are eternal, cannot kill them with a bullet
  • Ideas cannot be destroyed 
  • Ideas submerge and re-emerge from generation to generation 
  • Ideas become ideologies, and we are ruled by dead men’s ideas. [1]

Epistemologists study the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge

  1. Perception 
  2. Reason
  3. Memory 
  4. Testimony[2]

For ideas to become strongholds of belief they follow a certain process. 

  1. Originality
  2. Self-involvement 
  3. Blending
  4. Agreement 
  5. Execution 

This shortlist of ideas, that becomes knowledge, that becomes actions can be positive or negative. It takes the same process to install a self-defeating, negative, destructive thought and the eventual sinful act than receiving an instruction from the Spirit and bearing His good fruit. 

The 2 Corintians 10:3-6 Biblical Wording is:

  1. Thoughts 
  2. Imaginations, ideas & arguments 
  3. Strongholds, Beliefs 
  4. Obedience 

Jesus proposed radical ideas that when obeyed, have a distinct positive fruit in one’s life. 

Some of Jesus’ Ideas that Sticked:

  • Love your neighbour as you love yourself.
  • Love your enemies.
  • If you want to be forgiven learn to forgive those who offend you.
  • If you want to live you must die to self.
  • If you want to lead, you must learn to serve.
  • If you want to be first, go stand last in the que.
  • If you want to gain more, give more away.
  • Do unto others, as you want them to do unto you.  

The Source of Knowledge determents you

The sources of our knowledge, and how we came to have this knowledge is empirical to the state of our being. Knowledge either makes or breaks you. We live in the age of a knowledge revolution. Never in the history of mankind has so much knowledge been so freely accessible to mankind. Knowledge used to cost you money, to earn a PhD, to isolate yourself into a study program. Now everyone searches google, and acquire knowledge in seconds. (Being lazy readers does not help) Not all this knowledge is good for you. Remember Adam and Eve, eating from the tree of KNOWLEDGE of good and evil. 

The Bible is prescriptive: It is the knowledge of God that saves us! 

may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe. (Eph 1:17-19)

But even knowledge of God can be misleading, as the foremost pharisee scholar Saul discovered when He met Jesus face to face. (Acts 9) 

It is thus the knowledge of the person of Jesus Christ, acquired by being on the journey with Him that leads to life! (John 14:6)

The Biblical Antivirus is: 

The knowledge of God.  I would strongly suggest that the knowledge acquired through only one of the following sources, can lead to error. It is the sum-total of all that one engages on our spiritual journey with Christ that leads to truth. 

How does one come to have knowledge of God? 

  1. Know Jesus through revelation of Mysteries – But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. but as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Cor 2:6-13) (Awaken to His righteousness, enlightenment, assurance & conviction of Faith) 
  2. Know Jesus through direct encounter – Job, Moses, Paul etc 
  3. Know Jesus through experiential obedience – Pragmatic Realist epistemology – Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 1 Sam 15:22. 
  4. Know Jesus through His special representatives – There is nothing new under the sun, and as the World-views of the world got formed and motivated by great thinkers, the church and body of Christ have select men and women of faith who directs and judges people to look to Christ. Example Paul, Peter, James and John. 
  5. Know Jesus through His everlasting Covenant – God’s binds Himself to an everlasting covenant with man, to be its redemption.  Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. (Gal 3:15-17)
  6. Know Jesus through His Body the Church – but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Eph 4:15-16)
  7. Know Jesus by the Spirit – Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.(Gal 5:16)  https://hrco.co.za/sermons/walk-and-live-in-the-spirit/

[1] Dr Myles Munroe – The Power of Ideas 

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistemology#Sources_of_knowledge

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The Power Of The Blood Of Christ

Sunday Evening Sermon

Since my own recovery from Covid 19, the reality of abnormal blood clotting, and in some cases a massive inflammatory reaction, has begun to shift my focus to the importance of healthy blood circulation, and blood pressure. It is well known how to maintain a healthy immune system more preventively by following a healthy balanced diet. As well as, regular exercise, enough water hydration, detox, limited stress-, and stress-free relationships.

However, there is also a spiritual element to the disease that is sometimes overlooked or forgotten. I cannot think of a better place to start my spiritual battle against this virus than the Blood of Jesus Christ!

For the soul of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for the blood brings about reconciliation through the soul… for as for the soul of all flesh, its blood is connected with its soul (Leviticus 17:11, 14).

The blood plasma is composed of water, proteins, inorganic salts, organic constituents, gases, and secretions. The blood cells are composed of red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes) and platelets (thrombocytes). The blood’s job is not only to carry food and oxygen to all parts of the body, but also to remove the waste products.

Here are some biblical similarities between Jesus’ work of salvation in us who believe and the physiology of blood in our bodies.

1. Life is in the blood.

There is no life without blood. Blood circulates around the body at around 5 liters of blood every 23 seconds. When blood circulation does not reach all parts of the body, the cells die, and people lose that body function, and even body part.

There is no spiritual life outside of Christ Jesus. Every 23sec, Jesus’ values, truths, example, habits, health, and values ​​must guide and determine our lives! TO experience Jesus’ power, Jesus must be lived.

When one fights Covid 19, one feels overwhelmed, tame, tired, lame and almost powerless.

And Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live through the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live through Me. (John 6: 53-57)

in Him we live, we move, and we are, as some of your poets also said: For we are also his generation. (Acts 17:28)

Dress with Jesus!

Do not lie to one another, because you have put off the old man with his works and have clothed yourselves with the new man who is being renewed in knowledge in the image of his Creator. with inner compassion, mercy, humility, meekness, longsuffering. (Col 3: 9-10, 12)

2. The Blood feeds and removes waste

Red blood cells transport nutrients, oxygen, nutrients, hormones to the cells. Then at the same time transport waste products, the carbon dioxide, and the waste products of tissue metabolism (cell waste), to separate it through the kidneys, skin, intestines and lungs from the body.

It is obvious to feel guilty and condemned at the time of illness, for sin, wrongdoing, shortcomings, and disobedience. Now confess your sin, and sins, make amends and if necessary, do deliverance on yourself.

For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctify the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who offered himself without blemish to God through the eternal Spirit, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. (Hebrews 9: 13-14)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1: 9).

3. The Blood Cleanses

White blood cells protect the body against infection and disease. If an infection occurs throughout the body and the body is attacked by a hostile ‘army’ of germs, the news is transmitted to the ‘camp’ where the white cells are produced, to chase a much larger number of white cells to the point of infection. These white cells surround the point of infection and besiege the bacteria that cause problems. Millions of “soldiers” die and give their lives what is commonly known as “pus”. The battle is now coming to an end. The white blood cells surround the wound and eventually the prey bursts and the pus is expelled. The pus consists of serum and dead “soldiers”, millions of white blood cells that gave their lives in the fight, along with numerous germs that were partially digested by the white cells form a prey, which later falls off.

Covid 19 inevitably makes one think a lot about death, and even fear of death. It is strange for believers to fear death, because we are already living in eternal life here and now in Christ. One also becomes very much focused on oneself. Jesus constantly shows us to forget about ourselves, and rather to the need around us. It helps us to re-align our thinking faster.

For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Kill therefore your members who are on the earth, namely, fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry, by which the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience, in which you also walked earlier when you lived in it. has. But now you also have to put it all away, namely anger, wrath, evil, slander, shameful language out of your mouth. (Col 3: 3-8)

(Mat 16:24; Rom 6:11; Gal 2:20)

4. Protect the Blood

Blood also forms a line of defence of antibodies. These are elements that prevent infection. The white cells fight infection when it occurs, antibodies prevent the infection from gaining a foothold. It builds a resistance that the body is not overcome again by the same disease.

Everyone is terrified of being Covid 19 positive. However, if you approach it with the right attitude, you will be stronger, and with an army of antibodies you will have a stronger chance of not getting sick again. Speak positive words of faith, and resist the disease, knowing that you are actually now building stronger resistance to this disease.

Then I heard a great voice in heaven, saying, Now is come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ; for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, who accuseth them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12: 10-11)

People who have been freed from the contagions of the world by getting to know our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and who are trapped in it and overwhelmed by it, are worse off in the end than in the beginning. It would have been better for them if they had not come to know the will of God than if they had come to know it and then deviated from the holy commandment that had been passed on to them. Of them, the proverbs are true: “A dog goes back to its vomit” and: “A pig that has been washed will roll in the mud again.” (2 Pet 2: 20-22)

5. The Blood Unites

All people are of one blood, Adam the first man and the progenitor of all mankind.

One of the biggest lies one experiences during your fight against Covid 19 is the feeling of isolation, distance and removal.

The God who made the world and all that is in it, He who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He served by human hands as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives life and breath and everything to everyone.

And hath made of one blood all nations of mankind, to dwell upon the whole earth: and he hath predetermined the times and the bounds of their habitation. (Acts 17: 24-26)

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Building a Spiritual Profile

The sons of Sceva could not drive out the demons, instead the demons drove them out. What! These people were doing supernatural stuff, but they had no spiritual authority. Their spiritual profile was thus non-existing.  What is your Spiritual Profile?

STUDY: Acts 19:11-20

When one study this chapter from beginning to the end, you will find certain conditions for the church to have a real impact on a region. 

  • Right Foundations – Acts 19:1-5 Baptised in water, as believers. Baptised with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of the ability to speak in tongues and prophecy. 
  • Studying the word from 10:00 – 15:00 (5 hours per day) for two years, saturating the whole region. Acts 19:9-10
  • Removed themselves from those who hold on to religion and traditions – Acts 19:8
  • “Miracles Glorify Christ” interweaved with everyday life! – Unusual miracles? Why? Two Greek words gives us the answer.
    – Soudarion – Handkerchief used for whipping of sweat
    – Simikinthion – A narrow apron or linen covering worn by workmen and servants
  • DUALISM and separation between work and ministry removed.
  • The Gospel was preached with demonstration of power, and might manifestations, creating an expectation, that even the outsiders tried to copy the methods.
  • The power of Magic, idolatry and false religion was broken, people burn their magic books, no longer buy shrines bringing a whole industry to a halt.
  • So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed Acts 19:20 (Acts 6:7; 12:24; 13:49.)

The sorcery in the region cannot be overcome unless it is overcome within the hearts of God’s people. 

This story is an indictment against those who worship religion, playing church.

You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. Mat 22:29

  1. verbs for “know” used here by the evil spirit (i.e., the demon). He said, Jesus I know (ginōsko, “to know by interaction and experience”), and he added, Paul I know about (epistamai, “to know about, to understand”). But the demon did not know Sceva’s sons. We are suppose to have authority over demons Luk 10:19. The kingdom power within is manifested when demons flee. Mat 12:28 God expect us to confront and overcome the evil one. 1 John 2:13 Like Jesus we have to say; “away with you, it is written”
  2. You do not build a spiritual profile, it cannot be build, it is established for you by obedience. 
  3. Social media is a false profile, you cannot fake a spiritual profile. You can feel the presence of the Lord, around someone who have been with God, and who has an active prayer life.
  4. Social media can be setup quickly, a spiritual profile takes time. Social media is about image, self, ego-centred your spiritual profile is built through humility and obedience, taking up your cross moments of self-denial
  5. A reputation. Ecclesiastes 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment. Proverbs 3:4 Earn a reputation for living well in God’s eyes and the eyes of the people.  Cornelius goods works reached heaven Acts 10
  6. Social media seeks an audience, likes, followers… one seeking to build a spiritual standing, lives for the audience of one! God! How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God. John 5:44
  7. Mat 7:21-23 I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’  Luke 6:46 But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? These people were doing supernatural stuff, yet God does not know them. Lawnessness: 458. ἀνομία anomía; gen. anomías, from ánomos (G0459), lawless. Lawlessness. In most cases in the NT it means not the absence of the Law, but the violation of Law, (thus meaning, you know the law, yet choose to transgress it).  
  8. In 1 John 3:4, we have a statement which relates hamartía (G0266), the general word for sin, and anomía. A literal translation of this verse is: “Whosoever commits the sin [on a continual basis] also commits [continuously] lawlessness [anomían], and the sin is the lawlessness” (a.t.). Sin (hamartía) is missing the mark ordained by God and not by us. God has placed in our hearts an innate knowledge of what is good and evil. There may not be any specific law which we violate when we sin, but that does not make sin any less sinful.
  9. By implication, anomía is sin, iniquity, unrighteousness that continue in secret make the church powerless.  Like the pharisees, and religious people,  “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” Matt. 23:28; Rom. 4:7; (by implication our sinful deeds, where we miss the mark, knowing the mark, And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. Mat 14:12)
  10. For if we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, Heb 10:26-39 Just: right, just. Righteous, just. Used in the neut. tó díkaion, that which is right, conformable to right, pertaining to right, that which is just. This is expected by the one who sets the rules and regulations whereby man must live, whether that be society or God. Therefore, it means that which is expected as duty and which is claimed as a right because of one’s conformity to the rules of God or society. Conscientious, blameless, even-handed, honest, fair-minded, authentic, meticulous, punctual, honourable “The just shall live by faith” Hab 2:4; Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11;

Grace is not a license to sin, but the power and divine ability not to sin.

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We are all searching for Eternity.  

We are all searching for eternity, for the good life, fine dining, financial success, prominence, significance, for a better life, immortality. 

Gerhard was an exceptional and experienced explorer, an adventurer searching for truth.  

At the time of his regeneration process from drugs, he told me. One can achieve a 10 times higher rush of euphoria and pleasure, focus, memory and super-man feelings while being high on drugs than any other natural means. Drug addicts believe they are free, and society is in prison, bound by their responsibilities, marriage life and routine obligations.

Gerhard’s search for truth miserably failed, being in his thirties having nothing to his name, only broken relationships.  

Finding Eternity in Jesus

Eventually, Gerhard made the divine connection; he found the pearl of great price, the secret hidden treasure of life – Jesus Christ!  

He discovered that all that he was searching for was locked up in the person of Jesus Christ. So, over a period of time, through consistent truth, obedience and humility, he stepped back into his family’s and friend’s hearts.  

He found a beautiful wive in Amelia, who shared a deep love for Jesus, and they travelled, served and lead people into the presence of the Eternal. 

Gerhard’s eye for the finer things in life and capturing moments of eternal bliss became his trademark.  

He learned that eternity is not somewhere far away in the future; Jesus is the Great Eternal Now!! In Christ, thankfulness, peace and joy became Gerhard’s foundation, rock, and solid ground.  From this foundation, he worked himself up from being a film crew-hand to a manager, professional videographer and director of some of the most amazing shots and glimpses of eternity now.  

Gerhard’s death is untimely, abrupt, unexpected, and it feels wrong!  But again, Gerhard’s life is a sermon, a type of roadmap, a roadsign pointer that this life and all its fine things are temporary!! Word of warning: “Do not put your trust in these earthly glimpses of eternity.” 

These eternal now moments are only pointers, short reels, a documentary of what is truly REAL, namely – JESUS.  He died and rose again to reconnect us to that eternal reality.  

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corn4:16-18) 

We are all going to die!! 

We are really all going to die, some sooner than others! 

The only way to escape death is to know and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and receive His resurrection life force in your soul!  

It is His resurrection power that is working in us who believe right now, giving us the supernatural means to cope with our loss! By His grace and resurrection power, Gerhard won his battle over drug addiction!  It is the power of Christ within that helps us to remain calm, peaceful, and thankful under pressure.  

All cultures have their own idea and theory about life after death. Egyptians dedicated pyramids to their dead. Chinese built huge tombs for their emperors with ceramic armies to “protect” them in the afterlife. Vikings dressed fallen warriors and released them to the wind in burning ships. Crusaders in the Middle Ages believed they gained a more favourable afterlife if they died in battle, as did the Japanese kamikaze pilots in the 2nd World War. American Indians buried weapons and tools with their dead for use in the Happy Hunting Ground.  

Heaven is real because Heaven is here in Christ

For Christians and believers, heaven is not an afterlife fantasy or imagination, for we are already experiencing moments of Heaven here and now in Christ!

In Christ, we have received real weapons and real protection against sin and evil!! We cannot take any of this worlds riches, axes and guns with us!! 

Wealth, prominence, guns and swords cannot protect you in the afterlife. If you do not know and have Jesus, you are lost!  

The Good News Gospel is exactly this! Jesus declared in His first sermon: “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” and then started to heal people, set them free from demonic oppression, raised the dead, fed the thousands, cleansed the lepers, and demonstrated HEAVEN here and now!! He teaches us to pray “Let your kingdom come, your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven” (Mat 6:10). He then later sent His disciples to demonstrate heaven too in doing the same miracles He did. (Luk 10:9).  

Jesus is the LIFE, the TRUTH and the WAY! 

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O Death, where is your sting?

O Hades, where is your victory?”

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Cor 15:50-58) 

“as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” II Corinthians‬ ‭6:10‬ ‭NKJ

Godly people dies : (Rest in peace eternally) 😇👑

Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die.” (‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭57:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

“Meanwhile, right-living people die and no one gives them a thought. God-fearing people are carted off and no one even notices. The right-living people are out of their misery, they’re finally at rest. They lived well and with dignity and now they’re finally at peace.” (Isaiah‬ ‭57:1-2‬ ‭MSG)

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Sermons

Relevant Christianity: Being the collective messiah versus waiting for one?

https://youtu.be/ywyq5pV9OWg
https://soundcloud.com/janoosthuizen/die-hedendaagse-mesiaanse-werk

In times of crisis, we all hope for a messiah! A solitary super-mensch who will single-handedly save us from our predicament.  This one-man saviour is a popular theme for most Hollywood movies we watch. The plot usually centres on an epic battle against totalitarian regimes, where eventually, the messiah intervenes and saves the day. Some call it the messiah complex. Unfortunately, this has also become the major theme in Party Politics, voting for the best candidate versus voting for the best system.

From a theological or Biblical Worldview, is this perspective reconcilable with the gospel that Jesus preached and demonstrated?

“Christ is not the answer to your city, I am not the answer to your city. The answer to your city is Christ in you and Christ through you.”

Chris Gore, Walking in Supernatural Healing Power

A Jewish Perspective 

In the fascinating article found on “Moment”, ask the Rabbis: Are Jews Still Expecting a Messiah?[1] Several Rabbi’s acknowledge the common human desire for lasting messianic peace and prosperity: “Then all our grief will be transformed into dance (Psalms 30:12); our weeping into song (Psalms 126:5), and every sigh you ever breathed will be breathed back into you as renewed life and joy.” BUT, surprisingly they do not expect this reign of peace and order to happen by one single person: 

  • “Our focus should be on bringing redemption in our own lifetime and with our own two hands.” Rabbi Gershon Winkler
  • “I prefer a different mythic construct that promotes the worth of every person: the legend of the 36 righteous people” Rabbi Peter H. Schweitzer
  • “It depends upon us. We must also acknowledge that there will always be something that needs fixing” Rabbi David J. Cooper
  • “The best Jewish teachings discourage searching for wonder-workers.  But to deny all messianic possibility is defeatist. Moderate messianism leads us to enlightened activism.” Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb
  • “Who is Elijah? We all are Elijah. As Jews, we are each God’s partner in the creation and the ongoing perfection of the world.” Rabbi Laura Novak Winer 
  • “I believe that each of us is created in the divine image. We increase holiness when we accept personal responsibility for bringing about a “messianic age.” Rabbi Amy Wallk Katz

What did the ancient Jews in Jesus’ time expect the Messiah to accomplish? 

  • The Righteous One/the Messenger (Malachi)– the prophet promised by Moses would prepare the people for the end times as the first sign.
  • The Prince of Light – the Davidic king who would lead the sons of light in the final battle and establish the Kingdom of God.
  • The Priestly Messiah–the Interpreter of the Law – a co-leader who would purify the altar of God.
  • The Prince of Heaven–Enoch/Melchizedek, the Son of Man, would be the final judge.
  • A family of righteous warriors (like the Maccabees) would drive the Romans and restore the nation to greatness.
  • A foreign king, similar to Cyrus the Great of Persia (Isaiah 45: 1), would help the Jews regain their independence.
  • Lord of the Sabbath:” A righteous leader would restore the Jewish tradition of a Jubilee Year. Every 50th-year debts were forgiven (usufruct), slaves were released, and farmland was returned to its original owners. 35-36 A.D. was the Jubilee Year.

Jesus fulfilled all these expectations by being our physical “son of man”-example but also leading us to become the embodiment of the Messiah as a family collective, not by our own abilities, but by the Power of His Grace and Resurrection (Eph. 1:12-22).

Fulfill the works of God – Believe in ME

“Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6:28-29; 4:21; 11:26) 

The world has seen many types of messiahs who thought that they were doing good but brought about great misery, death and pain.  A narcissistic, grandiose self-image often fuels the tyrant’s messiah complex:

  • “They love me all,” Muammar Gaddafi insisted before he was overthrown. “They will die to protect me . . . my people.”
  • When presented with an ultimatum to leave Iraq or be invaded by the United States, Saddam Hussein approved a demonstration. Demonstrators waved portraits of their tyrant and carried banners that proclaimed: “Saddam is Iraq and Iraq is Saddam.” Saddam approved the message. Otherwise, it would never have been delivered.
  • Mao Zedong was “the savior of the people,” according to Chinese Communist propaganda, over which he had control.
  • Josef Stalin’s “messianic egotism was boundless,” his biographer Simon Sebag Montefiore concluded.
  • And Adolf Hitler told readers of Mein Kampf that he believed he was “acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator… .”

What makes the gospel of faith in Christ Jesus different from all other self-driven pursuits of holiness, nirvana, esoterical mysticism is the principle of “empty of self”. Invariably, also called self-abandonment, self-denial, self-forgetfulness. Reckoning yourself dead to self is the premise and launchpad for all Christ-centered activity.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Mat 6:33; see also Mat 16:24: Rom 6:11; 12:1; Eph 2:20) 

Believing in Him means coming to the end of all self-effort, self-reliance, and dead works! (Heb 6:1) This is not a once-off experience but a continual reliance on His ability, strength, faith, holiness, and righteousness. (2 Cor 5:21; Rom 5:17) 

Receiving the Messiah Within! 

Paul reflects on this messianic mystery by saying: To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. (Col 1:27-29)

Feed the People

Read Mark 6:30-56 

Subsequently, this portion of scripture begins with the disciples doing Messianic Work: Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves. (Mark 6:30-32) 

“You give them something to eat.” v37 

Walk on the water 

“Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. (Mat 14:22-33) 

Greater things 

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:12-14)

A Messianic People 

Christian Religion has a bad name, but not because of the person of Jesus Christ. It is our misrepresentation of Christ that has led Christianity into disrepute. Jesus, the son of Joseph, from Nazareth, Galilee, mostly referred to by Himself as the ‘Son of man’, whether one believes in Him or not, is still the most magnanimous form of humanity[i]

The Christian church has been highly successful in making converts but is failing miserably to disciple the people in the principles and values of Jesus Christ. Evidence that although Christ-like behavior is the litmus test of true Christianity, it has to be understood from the outset that He produces the ‘Christlikeness’ in believing, obedient people. Oswald Chambers taught that, ‘All I do ought to be founded on a perfect oneness with Him, not on a self-willed determination to be holy.’

A Christ-centered Value Based Society 

  • Intrinsic worth & dignity of every person
  • Non-partisan, Non-racist, Non-violent, Non-adversarial
  • Relationship Centered
  • Freedom of choice
  • Sanctity of all life
  • Personal Responsibility, and Stewardship towards Generational multiplication
  • Common Good for all
  • Work to bless and to give
  • Justice & equity for the oppressed

When followers of Christ begin to follow His path, and way of life, they will face persecution. For the world who is in the sway of the wicked one, prefers the darkness over the light. Thus the realization that we do not expect a permanent perfect utopian state, but rather a mirror-reflection of light and redemption in the midst of darkness.


[1] https://momentmag.com/ask-the-rabbis-are-jews-still-expecting-a-messiah/?utm_source=pocket_mylist


[i] Oosthuizen, J. (2018). A narratological approach to an aspect of practical theology: Scrutinizing the relationship, role and individual responsibility of the South African Farmer and Farmworker against a Christological Standard. Masters of Arts. THE WESTERN ORTHODOX UNIVERSITY.

[ii] https://www.netwerk24.com/landbou/Nuus/agrisa-kenner-grondhervorming-moet-uit-hart-kom-20190305

[iii] https://chalmers.org,  Corbett, S. and Fikkert, B. (2014). When Helping Hurts. Chicago: Moody Publishers. 

[iv] Wallis, J. (2014). The (un)common good. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Brazos Press.

[v] Enosh Anguandia Adia Edre, Christian Nominalism within church membership a case study of the church in the town of Bunia in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South African Theological Seminary, 2015. 

[vi] Gorski. John F, Christology, Inculturation, and Their Missiological Implications: A Latin American Perspective, M.M. International Bulletin of Mission Research Vol 28, Issue 2, pp. 60 – 63 First Published April 1, 2004. 

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Sermons

What Happens When Christians Die?

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Ps. 116:15)

Death is the one thing we are most certain of, yet we are most ill-prepared for. Is there an afterlife? How does one prepare for it? How is one certain of resurrection? Particularly we as believers ask the question: What happens to Christians when they die?

All cultures have shown interest in life after death. Egyptians dedicated pyramids to their dead. Chinese built huge tombs for their emperors with ceramic armies to “protect” them in the afterlife. Vikings dressed fallen warriors and released them to the wind in burning ships. Crusaders in the Middle Ages believed they gained a more favorable afterlife if they died in battle, as did the Japanese kamikaze pilots in the 2nd World War. American Indians buried weapons and tools with their dead for use in the Happy Hunting Ground.  Hence the question: What happens to Christians when they die?

Currently, 60-million people die every year, and 140-million new babies are born. As mysterious as is the origin of new life, so mysterious is our end.  Scientists cannot create new life nor give us immortality. Some people have babies without any complications; others are unable to have children. Some people want to die yet they remain alive and others who want to live unexpectedly die.  

Life is Fleeting, Therefore Hold on Loosely. 

The paradox of life is our vulnerability to death, yet we desperately fight to preserve and extend it.  We all know that all of this life’s material things are temporary, yet we spend most of our time acquiring assets, belongings and goods.  

“Our days on earth are as a shadow” (1 Chron 29:15; Job 14:2; Ps. 90:9)

As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more. (Ps 103:15-16)

Death is CERTAIN.

“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).

“By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19). 

The Bible Describes the Death of Christians in Many Different Ways

The Psalmist wrote that when people die, they “return to the dust” (Psalm 104:29).

The KJV calls death “giving up the ghost” (Genesis 25:8; 35:29; Lamentations 1:19; Acts 5:10).

The Bible says that when Abraham died, he was “gathered to his people” (Genesis 25:8). In other words, he joined his deceased relatives in death.

The Bible often describes the death of God’s people as “sleep” (Deuteronomy 31:16; John 11:11; 1 Corinthians 15:6, 18, 51; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-15). 

The apostle Paul called death a “departure” (2 Timothy 4:6). It’s like going on a trip…from this world to another.

The apostle Peter said that death is like “taking down a tent” (1 Peter 1:13-14). Our bodies are temporary dwelling places.  

Job described death as “the king of terrors” (Job 14:14). Death is many people’s greatest fear. 

There is Nothing Evil, Sinister or Wicked About The Death of a Christian

Death is as natural as the birth of a newborn baby. It is part of the cycle of life. You will also not find any rubbish dumps in Nature. There is no waste, death has a purpose. Death often provides for life! It is a gift. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:24-25)

One will always find sufficient grace in the death of a believer. As a local pastor, I must still find the story where God did not work everything for good for those who love Him (Rom 8:29): testimonies of provision, reconciliation, repentance and return to the Lord; of God’s love and presence in the midst of the Valley of Death. (Ps 23)

The tragedy of death is dying without being reconciled with God! Oh, the great horror! To see someone struggling to die without finding peace! Death is a sobering reality and grief is a lonely path that all must take to discover what life is really about. When losing a loved one, the speeding, sometimes out-of-control-bus of life calls to an abrupt halt. One becomes aware of eternity, the soul searches for meaning, purpose, understanding. The best poems, songs and books were written during a grieving process.

Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. (Mat 5:4 Is. 61:2, 3; Luke 6:21; [John 16:20]; Acts 16:34; [2 Cor. 1:7]; Rev. 21:4)

When a Noble, Righteous Christian Dies, We Feel Something is Wrong.

When someone noble, and righteous is taken, we feel this is unfair. Something is wrong. We somehow feel that bad and sinful people deserve death! 

Stephen was one of seven men chosen to help administer food distribution to needy Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 6:1-6). He was one of the first appointed Deacons of the Early Church’s Jesus movement. He was the most prominent of the seven and is singled out as a man “full of faith and the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5). Manifesting the grace and power of God in an unusual measure, he did miraculous (Acts 6:8) and proved to be a bold and effective evangelist and defender of the faith (Acts 6:9-10). His witness was so powerful; he was soon arrested by the authorities and brought before the high council for interrogation (6:9-12).  After a lengthy interrogation, they brutally stoned him to death (Acts 7:54-60). As he died, Stephen prayed that his murderers might be forgiven (Acts 7:60). 

We are not told of his family, whether he had a wife or children. He must have had a mother and father and siblings.  How did they feel that God took their son after doing so much good? One can only imagine. 

But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”  (Acts 7:55-56)

And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:59-60)

In this story of horrible brutality, the glory of heaven shines more brightly! While Stephen was being stoned, he was filled with Holy Spirit, Saw Jesus and the Father… and fell asleep!! What vindication, victory and supernatural strength!  

Christians Do Not DIE!

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell”  (Matthew 10:28) 

READ the WHOLE Chapter – 1 Corinthians 15! 

Why Death is BETTER for Christians.

It is our REWARD, our finishing line! 

Is it not strange how, when we are facing hardship, we all long for heaven? In contrast, when losing a loved one, we hold on to their life.  We hold on to our loved ones for what they did for us, how well they loved us, the good they did… not realising that for believers, DEATH is BETTER! 

For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. (Phil 1:23) 

But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country (Heb 11:16) 

Why are you grieving? The question feels strange, insensitive. Why? You very well know why. But this question had the same tone the angels used when the disciples came to the grave of Jesus on Easter morning: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24: 5). Jesus continues to say that the person you mourn is not dead; you know that. So now, let us talk about your loss. He begins to help us differentiate between grief and devastation, between “good-bye for now” and what felt like an utter loss.  ((Footnote All Things New: Heaven, Earth, and the Restoration of Everything You Love. John Eldredge)) 

What Exactly Happens When We Die?

A New Heaven and a New Earth 

Imagine this wonderful creation, nature, sunsets, geography, diversity, splendour without sin, rebellion, jealousy, envy, selfish ambition, anger, entitlement!  

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. (Rev 21:1Isa 65:1766:222Pet 3:13)

Incorruptibleness 

Do you not get tired of cleaning, repairing, restoring the downhill decay of this world?  “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)” 

Oneness with GOD 

that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.” (Ephesians 1:10) 

Finally Complete Like Him

when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2) 

Defying the Natural Law Restrictions 

Jesus moved through walls, instantaneously. (John 20:26)
the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away (Acts 8:39; 1 Kin. 18:12; 2 Kin. 2:16; Ezek. 3:12, 14; 2 Cor. 12:2) 
Jesus walked on Water (Matthew 14:29) 

Feasting & Big mealtimes! 
John 21:12; Jeremiah 31:13; Isaiah 25:6; Revelation 19:9 See also Matthew 8:11
Having food to eat, means someone will have to produce food, and someone has to prepare it! 

We receive Heavenly Rewards/Crowns 
  • Crown of righteousness (2 Tim 4:8)
  • Incorruptible crown (1 Cor 9:25)
  • Crown of life (James 1:12)
  • An Crown of glory (1 Pet 5:2 – 4)
  • Crown of rejoicing (1 Th 2:19) 
We Will Reign With Him 

If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. (2 Tim 2:12) 

Gen 1:28; Mt 19:28; 25:34; 1Co 6:3; 2Ti 2:12; Heb 12:28; Rev 2:26-27; 3:21; 20:6

Reunited with Our Righteous Family and Loved-ones. 

In the Old Testament, when a person died, the biblical writers said he was “gathered to his people” (cf. Gen. 25:8; 35:29; 49:29; Num. 20:24; Judg. 2:10). In 2 Samuel 12, when David’s infant child died, David confidently said, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (v. 23). David evidently expected to see his child again. 

While sharing the Passover meal with His disciples, Christ said, “Take this [cup] and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes” (Luke 22:17-18). Christ was promising that He and His disciples would drink the fruit of the vine together again–in heaven.

This is why Paul writes: “lest you sorrow as others who have no hope” to comfort some of the Thessalonians who evidently thought their dying loved ones would miss the return of Christ. He says in verse 18, “Comfort one another with these words.”The comfort comes from the prospect of reunion.  

We Will Work

When God created Adam, he “took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). Work was part of the original Eden. It was part of a perfect human life. God Himself is a worker. He didn’t create the world and then retire. Jesus said, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (John 5:17). Jesus worked physically for the greater part of His life. We’ll also have work to do, satisfying and enriching work that we can’t wait to get back to, work that’ll never be drudgery. God is the primary worker, and as His image-bearers, we’re made to work. We create, accomplish, set goals and fulfill them—to God’s glory.

We Will be Finally HOME 

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3) 

Isa 65: 17–19, 21; Mat 19: 28–29; Mat 25:31-36; Joh 14:1-4

Heaven is Not an Afterlife Fantasy, for we are Already Experiencing Moments of Heaven. 

The Good News Gospel is exactly this! Jesus declared in His first sermon: “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” and then started to heal people, set them free from demonic oppression, raised the dead, fed the thousands, cleansed the lepers, and demonstrated HEAVEN here and now!! He teaches us to pray “Let your kingdom come, your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven” (Mat 6:10). He then later sent His disciples to demonstrate heaven too (Luk 10:9).  


For more reading content on this theme: https://hrco.co.za/sermons/kyk-met-nuwe-oe-na-die-hemel-3/

If you want to become a FOLLOWER of JESUS Follow this link!

Do not WASTE your LIFE any longer and become eternally prepared for LIFE after DEATH!

For more reading:

[1] Desire: The journey we must take to find the Life that God offers. John Eldredge

[2] All Things New: Heaven, Earth, and the Restoration of Everything You Love. John Eldredge 

[3]  Driven by Eternity: Make Your Life Count Today and Forever. John Bevere 

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Sermons

Generational Blessings and Curses

Generational blessings and curses and what to do about it!

https://youtu.be/6DJH3KB-LCQ

All life is generational.  Some of it is a blessing, and some of it is a curse. Most people do not take well to the statement: “You’re just like your mother or your father”. Whether you like it or not, there is more of your parents and grandparents in your DNA than you realize.  Some people feel trapped in the negative legacies of their parents’ sins, and wrongdoing.

How can you free yourself of hereditary curses?

Hereditary Influences.

Genetics DNA[1]

Physical features like eye color and blood type, hairline, hair type, laugh lines, mood, fertility, intelligence, infidelity, insomnia, poor driving skills, fear of the dentist, pain tolerance, facial expressions, athleticism, response to caffeine, popularity, procrastination, how fast we age, your sweet-tooth, preference for bitter foods, level of risk aversion, optimism, empathy, sweatiness, work ethic, musical ability and taste[3]

Epigenetics:[2] 

The environment of the parents, diet, lifestyle influences a baby’s health. New research with mice indicates a possibility that experiences of fear can be inherited from grandparents.

Spiritual inheritance:

If a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful his wife’s devotions, only one child in fifty will become a regular worshipper. If a father regularly attends church, regardless of the mother’s practice, between two-thirds and three-quarters of their children will become churchgoers (regular and irregular). [4]

Social Economic Standing: 

A child’s social construction of gender, class, race, and ethnicity plays a huge role in their Financial IQ.  Children’s economic and social outcomes, both during their childhood and in their adult years, largely depend on their birth and upbringing. Children’s families, schools, and neighborhoods, peers and adults with whom they spend time plays a role including media images that shape their perceptions of themselves and their place in the world. There are, of course many other factors, both internal and external contributing to the individual child, that can also greatly affect the child’s social, economic success. [5]

Find Your Family, Find Your Destiny.

Prof . Lewis Termite’s research of young geniuses: When the young geniuses entered into adulthood, Terman looked at the records of 730 of the men and divided them into three groups:

  • 150 were in the A group who were the true success stories — the lawyers and physicians and engineers and academics
  • The middle 60% were the B group — those who were doing “satisfactorily.”
  • The bottom 150 were the Cs — the ones who Terman judged to have done the least with their superior mental ability. They were the postal workers, the struggling bookkeepers and the men lying on their couches at home without any job at all. One-third of the Cs were college dropouts.

What was the difference between the As and the Cs? Terman ran through every conceivable explanation. He looked at their physical and mental health, their “masculinity-femininity scores,” and their hobbies and vocational interests. He compared the ages when they started walking and talking and their precise IQ scores in elementary and high school. In the end, only one thing mattered: family background[6]

Generational Curses:

Biblical Perspective:
Every man has a choice to determine his or her destiny. 

“I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:5–6

“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” Exodus 34:6–7

“Because of their iniquity, and also because of the iniquities of their fathers they shall rot away like them.” Leviticus 26:39

Individual Responsibility: 

“Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin.” Deuteronomy 24:16

“But he [Amaziah] did not put to death the children of the murderers, according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, where the Lord commanded, ‘Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. But each one shall die for his own sin.’” 2 Kings 14:6

“The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son.” Ezekiel 18:20

We all leave a legacy

 “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” Proverbs 13:22: (NKJV)

When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant (Deuteronomy 6:10-11 (NIV)

 “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts …” Psalm 145:4

Leaving a GODLY Legacy of blessing or curse.

The following story of two American families illustrates the power of generational curses and blessings:

  • Max Jukes was an atheist who married a godless woman. Researchers traced 560 descendants: 310 died as paupers—150 became criminals, 7 of them murderers—100 were known to be drunkards—and more than half of the women were prostitutes. The descendants of Max Jukes cost the United States government more than $1.25 million in 19th-century dollars.
  • Jonathan Edwards was a contemporary of Max Jukes. He was a committed Christian who gave God first place in his life. He married a godly young lady and traced some 1,394 descendants: 295 graduated from college, 13 became college presidents, and 65 became professors. In addition, 3 were elected as United States senators, 3 as state governors, and 3 others were sent as ministers to foreign countries. In addition, 30 became judges, 100 were lawyers, 1 was the dean of an outstanding law school. 75 became officers in the military. 100 were well-known missionaries, preachers, and prominent authors. Another 80 held some form of public office, of whom 3 were mayors of large cities, 1 was the comptroller of the United States Treasury, and another was vice president of the United States. Not one of the descendants of the Edwards family was a liability to the government!

The Three-Chair Principle 

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David served God, with all his heart. 

Solomon served God, with a divided heart. 

His son Rehoboam did not serve God at all. 

Joshua, Elders, Next generation

Me and my house will serve God. (Jos 14:15)

“Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel” (Josh. 24:31).

“After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel” (Judg. 2:10).

Lessons of REFORM from King Josiah 

  1. While he was still young, he began to seek God” I am seriously concerned about our children. We wait too long to give them the full gospel.
  2. Of his father David” (v3) Josiah severed all ties with Amon his dad, and Manasseh his grandfather who did evil in the sight of the Lord. He took his hereditary influences from David, the last great spiritual father/king/ruler of united Israel. He thus sought to align himself with a generational line of blessing and truth.
  3. Began to purge the land of pagan practises (v3) Go against the mainstream culture, and make a stand against false religion.
  4. Restored Financial Integrity in the house of God. (v8-9) When there is chaos, ad administration. Josiah understood good administration, governance and order.
  5. Restored the house of the Lord (v10-13). The church is the only institution mandated by God, for God, to offer Christ as the only means to salvation.
  6. Rediscovered, and studied the Word of God (v15). A follower of Christ is a faithful, lifetime student of the Word.
  7. Trembled and feared to obey the Word (v19). We are not only to study the word, but we are to obey it!! It is not about how much we are in the Word, but how much of the Word is in us! For his passion and fearless humility God personally commended him. ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel: “Concerning the words which you have heard— because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you,” says the LORD. v27
  8. Made Public confession of His faith (v30-31). He was not afraid to lead with a public confession and display of his faith, not in religious false hypocrisy! I see in the generation Z, the spirit of Josiah, who are willing again to be bold and radical in their faith.
  9. Kept the “Passover” like no other King since David (35:1, 18). Keeping the Passover is about worship. How do we serve, and worship God? He surpassed all others! Worship God in spirit and in truth!
  10. The fight that you have not been called for, you will lose.  He did not believe the coming judgement of God against his people, and that God can speak and work through a pagan king. Nevertheless, Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself so that he might fight with him, and did not heed the words of Necho from the mouth of God. So he came to fight in the Valley of Megiddo. (2 Chron 35:22) 

[1] https://www.rd.com/list/traits-didnt-know-inherit-from-mom-and-dad/

[2] https://www.vox.com/2014/8/18/5927269/epigenetics-definition-cancer-diet-explained-inheritance-DNA-methylation

[3] https://bestlifeonline.com/inherited-genetic-traits/

[4] https://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-05-024-v

[5] https://futureofchildren.princeton.edu/sites/futureofchildren/files/foc_vol_30_no_1_combined_v6.pdf

[6] Gladwell, Malcolm., 2008. Outliers. 1st ed. New York, NY: Hachette Audio, p. 110.