Monday, February 28, 2011

Christ's Resurrection Changes Everything!

But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. – 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

How would your life today be different if you were not a follower of Christ? Will your life be significantly different, in terms of your character, value systems, routine, and perception of life? Or would it be almost the same, minus the church attending on Sunday?

One of the biggest turn offs for non-Christians is seeing the hypocrisy in lives of Christians. So-called believers in Christ will say one thing but will do something that’s very contradictory. In events when life beckons our biblical reaction, such as, loss of: loved ones through death, financial properties through bad business factors, friends through betrayal, and own health through terminal or debilitating diseases, do we continue to proclaim in our words and deeds the peace of God that transcends understanding? Or do we panic, grumble, complain and murmur like everyone else? As Christian parents, do we prepare our children as though everything depends on their performance in education, or do we teach them about depending on God?

Paul in the passage above says that if the way we live our lives on earth is as though it’s the only one we have, then we are the most pitiful of all people. This means that if the hope of heaven is not real, then we should just enjoy all of life’s pleasure now because at the end, there’s nothing else. However, if the hope of heaven is real in our hearts, then the things on earth no longer become attractive because no matter how good it is, it can never compare with what we will have in heaven. This is the main reason why Paul declares over and over again, that to live is Christ, and to die gain. Why gain? Because he gets Christ in the fullness of His deity, being able to reign by His side for eternity.

I pray that God will enlighten your heart to His glory, and open the eyes of your heart so that you can truly see the riches we have in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hearers and Doers

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. – James 2:22-25

Sunday after Sunday, Christians around the world throng churches hoping to learn something from sermons that are shared from the pulpit. The 21st century saw the explosion of information everywhere. At the tips of our fingers, we can get access via the internet to resources and knowledge that a man from a hundred years ago would only dream to attain. We have access to multiple versions and languages of the bible, along with its commentaries. Sermons today come in all forms of shape and medium.  From podcast to videos of preachers teaching, all it takes a little know how to find these resources.
Yet, it’s interesting to see that despite the immense truth and revelations we can learn from these resources, we hardly almost see any, impact of these biblical principles on the lives of the believers. I believe that it’s possible that we can learn “too much” of the bible. I say this cautiously, as I’m not implying that we should tone down our thirst for biblical truths. Rather, I believe that it’s almost pointless that we study the bible but do not apply the truths in our lives. James warns us believers that if we only ‘listen’ to the word and not do anything about it, we are deceiving ourselves. Listening to a message about forgiveness does not exempt us from committing the sin of unforgiveness. Until unless we actively seek and pray that God reveal to us in our lives of any unforgiveness that we could be harboring, AND then make conscious efforts to forgive the people that God has reveal, we will then only be able to experience the blessing that James was referring. The same goes for all other biblical truths. May our lives move from just listening, but to deeds and actions. I pray that you will be encouraged to take this step of faith to review yourself, especially if you find yourself lacking in deeds in this area, and do what’s necessary to escape this deception.